Vaping News

The Great POTV 2023 Round-up Part 3

January to June has been pretty exciting, right? Personally, I thought the stuff about elephants was the best bit. Here is a summary of our coverage from July to September

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January to June has been pretty exciting, right? Personally, I thought the stuff about elephants was the best bit. Naturally, this has been mentioned to check that you’re paying attention – your final grade will be assessed come December. Here is a summary of our coverage from July to September; some say this will be spicier than a gaeng som yellow curry.

The Global Forum on Nicotine in Poland

The Global Forum on Nicotine celebrated its tenth anniversary in Warsaw. The only event in the world for experts in tobacco harm reduction, advocates and consumers was set to be dominated by discussions about the upcoming World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Conference of Parties (COP) in Panama.

Starting the proceedings, consumer advocates met to discuss the WHO’s proposals:

  • A ban on all open system vaping products (anything you can fill or change a coil in)
  • A ban of all eliquid flavours except tobacco
  • A ban on nicotine salts in eliquid vaping products
  • Regulating products so that they are all exactly the same and restrict delivery of nicotine
  • Demanding that countries around the world treat vaping and heated tobacco products exactly the same as they legislate for combustible tobacco
  • Tax at the same rate as cigarettes, banning use where smoking is prohibited, place large graphic health warnings on packaging, adopt plain packaging, and a ban on all advertising, promotion and sponsorships

We detailed events that took place over Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, and Professor Gerry Stimson receiving an award marking a lifetime’s dedication to evidence-based public health.


A group of 23 academics and experts wrote to the US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, Robert Califf, with proposals for the adoption of an enhanced regulatory approach for vaping.

Similarly, the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates wanted legislators to focus on the science and make evidence-based policy decisions.

Experts Roberto Sussman, Konstantinos Farsalinos, and Gerry Stimson hit back at claims from Otago University that vaping is a gateway to smoking.

Dr Roberto Sussman said: "There is no evidence that vaping is a gateway to smoking. In fact, studies have shown that vaping can be an effective tool for smoking cessation."

Gerry Stimson added: "Harm reduction strategies like vaping are essential in reducing the negative health impacts of smoking. We need to focus on providing smokers with safer alternatives to cigarettes, rather than demonizing harm reduction strategies like vaping."

The New Nicotine Alliance charity that fights for vapers and vaping asked for support from vapers for its advocacy work – something you can still help with:

And the European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates wrote to the SANT Committee on non-communicable diseases regarding the definitions used in the Rapporture's Draft Report on non-communicable diseases, most notably 'tobacco use', and the role of safer nicotine products such as vapes.


Vape company ANDS told us all about their exciting new vaping rooms at airports across the world, something that will mark an improvement for vapers who either sit in with smokers or are banned completely from vaping during travel.

The UK Vaping Industry Association struck back following the Children’s Commissioner for England call to ban all disposable vapes. John Dunne, UKVIA Director General, said: “We absolutely agree that children’s wellbeing is precious at all times so they can lead healthy and happy lives. We also agree that youth vaping has to be urgently tackled, but banning single use vapes is not the answer to the issue.”

Waste processing company Biffa launched a national collection and recycling solution for disposable vapes. Daniel Barrett, of Biffa’s Reactive Services team, said: “It is vital that single use vapes are disposed of properly via trusted Approved Authorised Treatment Facilities. Far too many end up in landfill or being incinerated, preventing perfectly good material like lithium and plastic from being recycled back into new products.

Trading Standards around the country were going into overdrive, none more so that North Tyneside council’s Trading Standards team. 3,000 suspected illegal vapes worth tens of thousands of pounds were seized along with almost £32,000 in cash in operations conducted with the police.

The latest research from Material Focus revealed that the number of disposable single-use vapes thrown away had soared from 1.3 million to nearly 5 million per week. The potential yearly cost of collecting and recycling these vapes according to the research now stands at £200 million - which currently isn’t being paid for by vape producers, importers, or retailers.

VPZ announced another round of expansion with the company detailing that 15 new stores were set to expand the brand’s High St presence.

Dinner Lady UK got in touch with Planet of the Vapes following a fire breaking out in its e-liquid manufacturing operation. The company wanted to assure customers that business operations remain open, and they were continuing to supply retailers as usual.

The UK Vaping Industry Association became the latest in a line of organisations declaring that they were cutting links with the tobacco industry. The memberships of British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands, Japan Tobacco International and Philip Morris International came to an end and the trade body stated no future membership would be granted to tobacco related companies.

World Cup Vape Issues

Vape Club reached out to Planet of the Vapes as it was concerned for vapers heading over to Australia to watch the Women’s World Cup finals in August.

The online retailer told us: “Penalties for e-cigarette-related crimes in Australia include a maximum of six months in prison or fines of up to $2,200 (around £1,125). Additionally, a penalty of $222,000 (around £113,600) is applicable for those importing or attempting to import nicotine vaping products into the country.”

Dan Marchant, director of Vape Club, said: “Because the UK has such a progressive attitude towards harm reduction and recognises the huge role vaping has to play in achieving a smokefree future, we tend to forget that there are many other countries around the world who are far behind us.

Politics and nonsense

A Backbencher Business debate on Electronic Cigarettes was chock full of nonsense. Led by Tory Dr Caroline Johnson, we heard lots of exaggerated claims and complete myths (fine, we can call them lies if you want). More details can be found here so it’s not worth rehashing their guff.

The New Nicotine Alliance said: “We watched proceedings on Parliament TV and were disappointed that much of the discussion was inaccurate and often ill-informed. In light of this, we have written to the committee today to highlight the many inaccurate, misleading, or false statements and remarks during the hearing. We hope committee members will recognise these areas of concern and take them into account when considering their future recommendations.”

The charity, like us at POTV Towers, was stunned to see doubt cast on evidence commissioned by the government and published by prime public health research organisation Public Health England.

The UK Vaping Industry Association discovered that, despite the government claiming earlier in the year that it was investing in a Trading Standards task force, unscrupulous vape traders are getting off scot-free and only two successful prosecutions were made against business owners across six major UK cities over the past three years. Like everything else these days, the government seems to be delivering on rhetoric – but not action.

The Local Government Association repeated its blinkered call for the Government to ban the sale and manufacture of single use/disposable vapes by 2024.

Spouting Bloomberg inspired soundbites, the LGA said: “Councils are especially concerned by the marketing of vapes with designs and flavours that could appeal to children, in particular those with fruity and bubble gum flavours, and colourful child-friendly packaging. Strict new measures to regulate the display and marketing of regular vaping products in the same way as tobacco are needed.”

The Independent British Vape Trade Association objected, saying: “Our concerns about the unintended consequences of an outright ban must also be shared by many people working in frontline local health and wellbeing services. There is also a more general demand by adults for vapes that are as ‘user friendly’ as cigarettes, as evidenced by just how popular they are among adult smokers who would likely never otherwise have tried vaping. While there are obvious issues surrounding single use ‘disposable’ vapes, they can be a very important ‘first step’ away from cigarette smoking.”

The UK Vaping Industry Association’s John Dunne added: “It also makes absolutely no sense to call for a ban on disposable vapes while ignoring the much bigger problem of smoking and its related litter, which accounts for 68% of all litter in the UK,” adding that UKVIA’s members are “working hard to minimise [the] environmental impact” and how consumer education could play a key role.

Other objecting to the ban call included ASH UK, the Federation of Independent Retailers (the Fed), and the i newspaper’s Kevin Lynch. ASH spoke about the danger of “unintended consequences”, the Fed pointed out a ban would “fuel illicit sales”, and Lynch cried out: “God protect us from do-gooders.”

The Parliamentary Health and Social Care Committee wrote to the government demanding heavier restrictions on disposable vapes, idiotically claiming vapes “can contain chemicals including hydraulic oil and antifreeze”.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary Neil O'Brien did manage to do one decent thing though by ruling out a prescription-only model for vaping in future, saying: “There are no medicinally licensed vaping products approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. As such, the Government is not currently considering making vaping products prescription-only.”

Experts and academics were swift to respond to the Committee’s ludicrous letter. Professor Nick Hopkinson, Professor of Respiratory Medicine, Imperial College London, affirmed: “The evidence is clear that e-cigarettes are much safer than smoking and at least as effective as nicotine replacement therapy in people who are trying to quit smoking.”

Meanwhile, the UK Vaping Industry Association was expressing concerns about the impartiality and personal bias of Scottish politicians who were calling for a ban on single-use vapes north of the border.

The Grocer trade magazine posted an editorial that largely agreed with what POTV has been saying for years – that the vape industry hasn’t taken environmental concerns seriously, has failed to act on recycling, and has played into politicians’ hands and brought an inevitable ban on itself.

The Grocer concluded its piece: “The sector seems content to play lip service to environmental concerns. And that’s not enough of a response to what is fast becoming an existential threat.”

The Big Ban Theory

Come on, give me some credit for that subheading. I laughed for a good couple of minutes when I thought it up :D

Anyway, political sharks scented vape blood in the water; a populist ban based on emotion over evidence now gathered pace and nothing was off limits. Totally Wicked found themselves attacked in the House of Commons for their long standing support of Blackburn Rovers FC. Not once, but twice. Meanwhile, Toytown politicians in Peterborough cancelled funding for a research project that would have seen vape kits given out to smokers as part of a one-year trial to improve smoking quit rates. Fortunately for Barnet, their councillors had far more sense.

Dumb doctor

Planet of the Vapes reported Dr Sara Kayat to the General Medical Council after she appeared on ITV's This Morning claiming that vaping caused popcorn lung. The GMC failed to act and so she reappeared on the ailing show to tell viewers that vapes are “more addictive” than cigarettes.

We commented: “Maybe it is high time the GMC stepped in to prevent this self-publicist from spreading demonstrable lies on national television.”

The Death of Disposables

In our most read and shared article of the year, multiple media outlets were reporting that the Government was set to complete a shift predicted by Planet of the Vapes and ban all disposable vapes from the market.

The risk of unintended consequences is too great for us to support a ban” – ASH UK

Everyone had an opinion and the coverage swamped our output for the next fortnight. But, true to form with the current government, leaked policy inevitably led to a public U-turn. The i newspaper reported that Rishi Sunak was back peddling within days of the ban plan being announced.

So, politicians all saw sense? No. Helen Hayes MP immediately presented her Electronic Cigarettes (Branding, Promotion and Advertising) Bill to the House with the aim of spreading more lies and clamping down on tobacco harm reduction success.

Research success

Boy was there a lot of research publish over the summer and into autumn. A snapshot of what we covered:

COP 10

The WHO’s COP10 was approaching, Jeffrey Zamora told us that it was vital for vapers to act to reverse the opinions held by the World Health Organization and anti-vape countries.

The World Vaper’s Alliance slammed the World Health Organization’s publication claiming to examine the evidence surrounding vaping. The WVA said the publication of ‘The global tobacco epidemic’ report, “once again discounts the powerful impact of harm reduction and vaping, reaffirming WHO's adversarial stance against it”.

French advocacy groups The SOVAPE association and AIDUCE detailed a series of anti-vaping measures proposed by the World Health Organization, and the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates issued a call to the WHO for greater consumer advocate participation.

You can’t please all the people all the time

Finally, we published an article titled “POTV INVESTIGATES”. We would like to reach out to “Si”, the only commentor on the page, who seems to think we were attempting to “defame the Vaping industry”.

It seems you have either been paid to start condemning the wide and varied options of Vapes on the market, ironically, like the dystopian dictators around the world are doing,” he wrote. “Or you have lost your mind?”

Well, my bank account is empty, Si, but I can’t comment on my mind – I’ll leave that to my psychiatrist. Sorry, Si. Next year we’ll include a special warning notice for you at the top of any article that is meant to be humorous.

P.S. Can I add “dystopian dictator” to my CV?

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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