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Totally Wicked Sponsorship Rebuke

Unjust political criticism of Totally Wicked’s sponsorship of Blackburn Rovers Football Club has met with rebuke from the club

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Vape giant Totally Wicked has been defended from the unjust slurs thrown at it in the House of Commons during a recent debate. The comments relate to the tobacco harm reduction company’s sponsorship of Blackburn Rovers Football Club and are laughable in the face of government inaction when it comes to the ongoing association between football clubs and gambling companies and ignored the difference between vaping and smoking.

Totally Wicked has a long-standing association with its local club and began sponsoring the Blackburn’s training kit back in 2018. In 202, the relationship strengthened when Totally Wicked became a principal sponsor with the football club.

The vape business leapt into the breach during Covid when the previous sponsor cancelled its deal, guaranteeing vital funds.

At the time, Blackburn Rovers said: “The club is delighted to enhance its close relationship with training wear partner Totally Wicked. The thriving local business, which was founded in Blackburn, became Rovers’ official training kit sponsor in September 2018 and the successful partnership is now in its fourth successive season.”

Totally Wicked’s headquarters are located a short walking distance from Ewood Park, home of the football club, and the company says many of its team are passionate supporters of the hometown club.

Chairman Fraser Cropper is on record as saying: “It was … a proud moment when we became club sponsors in 2018 and hopefully, we will continue this affiliation and support for many years beyond. The opportunity to support further with the privilege of being principal shirt sponsors for the remainder of the season is a real honour for our brand.”

MPs made comments that Totally Wicked should “look themselves in the mirror” and another claimed to be “outraged”. Kirsten Oswald MP (SNP) likened vape sponsorship to “cigarette branding on their shirts”!

Blackburn Rovers told the media that it had “seen no evidence to suggest that our sponsorship has encouraged an uptake of vaping among children”, adding that both the club and the company view vaping as having “a positive and proven role in supporting the reduction and ultimate eradication of smoking within our communities.”

The spokesperson said the Totally Wicked logo won’t appear “on any playing shirts or replica shirts for under-18s,” acknowledging that it has “a responsibility to encourage healthy life choices for children and we do not see that raising awareness of the positive role that vaping plays in helping to eradicate smoking among adults and empowering more people to quit smoking for good conflicts with this in any way”.

The last time such nonsense reared its head, the Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) was swift to defend its member, saying: “The IBVTA member featured has become one of the most popular brands in the UK by selling to adult smokers and ex-smokers for almost 14 years, with strict age verification policies in place both online and in their stores. The average age of their customer is just over 43, intimating that neither their products nor brands are particularly attractive to young adults, let alone children and dismisses the claim that adults are not attracted by a bit of ‘fun’ imagery.

“Similar claims have been levied at other IBVTA members over the years, and such claims ignore the fact that reputable businesses are precluded to selling their products to those under 18 by law and would be risking their business if they did.

“Vaping continues to be supported by OHID (formerly part of PHE), the NHS, Cancer Research UK, the Royal College of Physicians and many other highly reputable UK organisations as an effective quit aid that is very much safer than smoking.

“Independent vaping businesses across the country have led the UK to the position of world leader in vaping and harm reduction, and vaping has already helped millions of smokers to improve their lives for the better. It is unfortunate that the media would rather portray vaping as something that should be curtailed from reaching even more adult smokers.”

The shameful episode marks yet another sad retrograde step in parliament where politicians are ignoring evidence to spout populist nonsense.

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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