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Guardian of the Vape Galaxy

The Guardian continues its swath of vape articles with two more in the space of seven days

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Newspaper circulation continues to plummet like a 70s celebrity’s popularity. Sales are down by half a million copies a day compared with a year ago – reflecting a 10% decline for most but the biggest drop belongs to The Guardian that manages to shift just over 170,000 copies. It is no wonder that they leap on a topic like vaping that may drive readers to the paper.

The trouble is that the coverage is uncoordinated and scattergun, conflicting pieces make it to press as if the only thing that’s important is filling column inches. Promote e-cigarettes over harmful tobacco smoking, say experts, says one of the articles this week. It records the laudable pronouncement from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) that NHS managers should embrace ecigs and encourage smokers to adopt them.

The RSPH calls for NHS bosses to drop their aggressively anti-ecig stance and promote vaping as a “low-risk alternative to lit tobacco”. They draw a clear distinction between being the use of nicotine and smoking (with its associated dangers).

Along with this call, the RSPH are advocating that smoking should be banned from outside schools, bars and pubs and in public squares and parks. They make the point that their proposal should not include electronic cigarettes.

“Over 100,000 people die from smoking-related disease every year in the UK,” said Shirley Cramer, the society’s Chief executive. “While we have made good progress to reduce smoking rates, one in five of us still smoke. Most people smoke through habit and to get their nicotine hit.” She added that allowing people to receive their nicotine through vaping would make “a big difference to the public’s health”.

The downside is that the RSPH believe in the highly restrictive regulated model being proposed through the Tobacco Products Directive – being 95% safer is not good enough for them, they want it to be less pleasurable too.

The Department of Health statement said: “We recognise that e-cigarettes may help adults to quit, we still want to protect children from becoming addicted to nicotine, which is why we have made it illegal for under-18s to buy them.”

Reasonably positive news but then there was also E-cigarette use rising among British youths, campaign group study shows. A shock headline totally at odds with the content – coverage that clearly pointed out “Only 2.4% said they used them at least once a month and almost all were young people who said they had been, or were still, regular tobacco smokers.” But then if the headline has read ‘Teen smokers use alternative to quit tobacco’ it might not have been such a draw.

Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at Ash, said: “These results should reassure the public that electronic cigarettes are not linked with any rise in young people smoking. Although more young people are trying electronic cigarettes and many more young people are aware of them, this has not led to widespread regular use or an increase in smoking.”

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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