After doing their utmost to help the nation, key workers including police officers, NHS staff, and blue light card holders are able to benefit from free products as VPZ says ‘Thank you’.
Doug Mutter, Director at VPZ, told Planet of the Vapes: “It has been a long and difficult fight against this pandemic, and it is has been in large part the work of front line staff that we are beginning to see parts of the country reopen and a sense of normality return. Now that we have been open for nearly a month, we had a discussion with the all our staff to see how we could give back to the people that have been supporting us, now just as a business but also in keeping us safe during the lockdown.
“So, we all agreed to offer free products to the front-line staff. There is no catch, it is just a simple thank you. All customers need to do is go onto our website, register with their photo ID card and they will be emailed a voucher which they can redeem in any store.”
An exceptionally generous gesture, helping key workers to improve their health and switch to low risk alternatives to tobacco, that should have been welcomed by everybody - everybody except Hazel Cheeseman, the chief executive of ASH UK, for some obscure reason.
Speaking for the pressure group, Cheeseman tartly labelled VPZ’s kind action a “marketing stunt” and accused them of making the offer just to circumvent current regulations on advertising and marketing.
She claimed that VPZ was operating as a front for Philip Morris International. “VPZ has been lent millions by Philip Morris. We’ll be reporting this to the authorities,” she told journalists.
VPZ strongly contest the size of her claim and reaffirmed that they are an independent company, repeating that the offer was nothing more than a kind-hearted act of appreciation to those who have gone above and beyond.
A spokesperson for Philip Morris International released a statement saying: “The vouchers referred to cannot be redeemed for Philip Morris products because we took no part in the VPZ promotion. Any allegation of our involvement is incorrect. Providing information about smoke-free alternatives to adult smokers is consistent with this and demonstrates strong support for the Government’s smoke-free 2030 ambition.”