Politics & Campaigns

We Vape Call For Engagement

Consumer campaign group We Vape has called for UK vapers to engage with a Scottish consultation looking to ban e-cigarette advertising

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Vapers across the UK must ‘stand with our friends in Scotland’ to stop a ban on advertising e-cigarettes, according to a harm reduction advocate. Mark Oates, director of consumer campaign group We Vape, is calling for UK vapers to engage with a consultation on whether or not the world's most effective smoking cessation tool can be promoted north of the border.

Scotland is conducting the process to obtain opinions about e-cigarette advertising.

Anyone can comment on the planned restrictions, says We Vape, which would see adverts for vaping banned on billboards and bus stops. The organisation continues: “As it stands, Scotland is 16 years behind its 2034 smoke free target, which is considered met when less than 5% of the population smokes tobacco.”

Oates said: “Our friends in Scotland are facing a sinister threat.

If Nicola Sturgeon has her way, information that could save people's lives, increase life expectancy and ease the burden on NHS Scotland will be kept from the public.

“It is total madness to prevent the advertising of a product that is proven to stop people smoking, is 95 per cent safer than smoking and will help Scotland achieve its 2034 smoke free target.

"It is counterproductive, foolhardy and damaging to the health of Scots.

“We are calling for everyone across the UK to engage with this consultation, stand with Scottish vapers and make sure access to important health information is not prevented by senseless legislation.”

The merits of vaping have been supported by research, Oates adds.

Public Health England has stated it is 95% safer than smoking, while Cancer Research UK and the British Medical Association all back it as an effective smoking cessation aid. The NHS is prescribing vape kits for the first time in England, which is second only to Sweden in the list of lowest smoking countries in Europe.”

A study just published by UCL also found vaping is not a gateway into regular cigarette use for teenagers and young adults. It concluded no significant relationship existed between the two.

Meanwhile, SNP planned restrictions on e-cigarette advertising in Scotland would be the strictest in Europe. This prompted We Vape to launch the #TellNicola campaign, to raise awareness of the Scottish consultation. It wants to voice concerns that further restrictive legislation would stop educating as many people as possible on the benefits of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool.

However, Oates said more support was needed across the UK.

He added: “All of the tired old arguments wheeled out by the anti-vaping lobby have been disproven. The latest UCL research is particularly significant because vaping had been falsely identified as a gateway to tobacco smoking by policymakers, resulting in various regulations to restrict e-cigarettes.

We now know that's rubbish, so why does this war on vaping persist?”

Oates also warned complacency over the Scottish consultation could have a ripple effect.

He said: “Views, trends and legislation in one part of the UK can spread to others, so if a vaping ad ban is introduced in Scotland, this could be seen as a green light for censorship by anti-vapers in England and Wales. Being part of the Scottish consultation can stop this. Misinformation has been a problem for the vaping community.

Some 52% of people still think vaping is as harmful as smoking or don't know. However, it is estimated up to 70,000 people quit smoking with the aid of e-cigarettes each year.
Savings are also a factor for those making the switch

The average cost of vaping is £254 per year, compared to £3577 for those who smoke tobacco.

Oates said: “Countries in the UK have always had a healthy rivalry from sport to politics, but we share more common interests than we do conflicts.

“The whole of the UK needs to stand with Scottish vapers and protect the rights of consumers who are being threatened with censorship on issues that could affect the health of future generations.

You can respond to the consultation here or visit we-vape.org/tell-nicola-campaign for more information and links. The consultation closes on April 28.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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