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Britain Needs Vaping

Stories that exemplify the disconnect between public health benefits and legislation.

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Britain, it was recently claimed in the Houses of Parliament, is the world’s leading nation in adopting vaping as a harm reduction tool. While the statement may hold some water, the government’s willingness to go along with the Tobacco Products Directive is set to have a catastrophic impact on the home vape industry. Two reports support the adoption of ecigs, quit programs now actively encourage vaping and yet things still haven’t fully clicked.

“Six months ago I decided I needed to stop,” Donna told the journalist from the Leicester Mercury. And, with the aid of the city’s quit service and a vaping device, she did it. “I feel fantastic. I don't have a cough anymore and I don't have a bad chest. I have more energy and can do things with [my grandson] and my family are really pleased.”

The newspaper has joined the campaign to help smokers stub it out for good. Donna has been able to exercise regularly since quitting and dropped 5 stone as a result. Vaping has helped her overcome her agoraphobia and, thereby, boosted her mental wellbeing into the bargain.

But this will come as no surprise to those of you reading this article as it is estimated that 99% of vapers are ex-smokers or smokers looking to quit. Our tales have been regaled to politicians and printed on websites only to be dismissed as anecdotal and unscientific. People like Mark Drakeford close up when presented with stark reality and that’s why Vapers In Power (ViP) raised £4,000 to ram home their “Freedom to Choose” message. “Fundamentally, we aren’t trying to get elected, we’re trying to spread the positives about vaping and we think this is a cost-effective way to do this,” ran the tagline of their crowd-funding page.

Smokers need higher levels of nicotine to make the switch. They need tanks that can last a day without faff and call for the ability to buy sensible sized bottles of juice – not be limited to 10ml that increases waste, increases cost and causes storage problems. ViP is saying it. Politicians are saying it. Public Health England is saying it. The Royal College of Physicians is saying it.

The Guardian is demanding it: “We need a strategy to help people with mental health problems quit smoking”! In a polemic piece, the paper decries a situation where 70% of psychiatric patients are smokers – a situation that condemns those patients to a future of increased poverty and lives cut short through strokes, cancers and heart diseases.

While a handful of mental health units are trialing ecig vending machines it is too little, too late. “The first principle of medicine is do no harm. But harm can be caused not just by a wrong action, but also by a failure to act. For the goal of ‘parity of esteem’ to be meaningful, people with mental health conditions need help to quit smoking.”

The Guardian calls for immediate action to overcome decades of complacency in this matter. It is the same complacency that lies behind the current government’s inaction on the Tobacco Products Directive. Cameron’s administration is content to offer mealy-mouthed support for vaping and the RCP & PHE reports but offer not resistance to legislation that the NHS’s own impact assessment states could well drive vapers back to smoking.

It’s not good enough, Britain needs vaping and it cries out for policies that support not hinder harm reduction. There is no time to kill.

*The Leicester Mercury is also looking for people to share their quit stories and the stories of those supporting quitters. To do this, or just to pledge support for the campaign, e-mail: [email protected]

Photo Credit:

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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