The 5Live Vape Debate

Posted 26th July 2017 by Dave Cross
Nicky Campbell hosted a debate about vaping against a backdrop of the government’s new Tobacco Control Plan and a report into smoking during pregnancy by ASH, the Royal College of Midwives, and the Lullaby Trust. He posed the provocative question: “Is vaping the acceptable face of smoking?”

The coverage kicked off during 5Live’s Breakfast show. ‘Vape instead of smoking when you’re pregnant’ is the new advice from the Royal College of Midwives, and the Lullaby Trust. It’s not that easy according to some.

One interviewee, Katherine, spoke about her issues with vaping while heavily pregnant. Firstly, her partner still smoked: “He actually smokes roll-ups and not cigarettes, which wouldn’t be my preference if I was to smoke. But I still find it difficult, even though he smokes outside, you still get that smell when he opens the door and comes back in. He does want to stop, and if he did it with me I’d find it easier.”

Her second problem was with the way people acted towards her. She spoke about how she would use nicotine gum if she was visible in public, “I still felt that there’s a real taboo about it – and people who’d never smoked cigarettes would just assume that it’s still smoking.”

Both Katherine and another pregnant woman, Gemma, spoke about wanting to give up vaping as well as smoking. They both felt that society looks down on them for being less worthy as mothers. It’s a pressure that drives a lot of women to continue to smoke instead of transitioning to something 95% safer.

Also, some so-called public health experts are still intent on muddying the waters. Judith Zelikoff is a professor of environmental medicine and a case in point. She conducted research using pregnant mice and now makes sweeping statements about vaping leading to mental health disabilities and hyperactivity in children. A typical Glantz-style opposition, she harped on about “nanoparticles”, “flavourings”, and “formaldehyde”.

The Electronic Cigarette Company

But they aren’t as toxic, it was pointed out to her, therefore would she support pregnant women swapping from smoking to vaping? “Never,” she said. “There are no circumstances.”

“Vaping is the alcopops of the cigarette world”

Meanwhile, Nicky Campbell was outside using a colleague’s vaping device – and it didn’t go well. But then Campbell isn’t a smoker and discovered the nicotine made him feel very light-headed and a little bit sick. Clearly, this demonstrates that vaping isn’t suitable for non-smokers and highlights why almost none of them do it.

“Vaping is what stops me from accepting a cigarette from others who still smoke”

If your blood pressure can take it, Your Call’s guests in the studio were Deborah Arnott of ASH UK and Sarah Jakes representing the New Nicotine Alliance. While Campbell played Devil’s Advocate, Arnott did an excellent job of batting away his questions. “Can we really not tolerate the odd wiff of strawberry,” asked Jakes.

Nicky Campbell: “Most of the calls are very pro-vaping”

The 5Live Facebook page continued the debate (scroll down to posts from the 18th July) with the predictable slew of trolls, displays of ignorance and vapers getting exasperated.

Vape Club

The full phone in can be listened to here:

Nicky Campbell vaping -

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, motorbikes, and dog walker
Vape Green