We have won one battle, but the war isn't over yet

The Government announced earlier this week that vaping should be allowed in offices and enclosed public spaces  in order to “maximise” access to safer alternatives to smoking. This is good news and follows on from our report last year on the vaping policies of councils, and the way councils treat their members of staff who vape. 

The Government has also said that it will use our impending exit from the European Union to look again at the Tobacco Products Directive, with regard to electronic cigarettes. Again this is good news and one of the aims of this campaign is to get those restrictions removed. 

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Dog whistles from UCLA

You may have heard the expression, "dog whistle politics". It's when you employ encoded language that can mean one thing to one group of people, but something completely different to another - your real target audience. You can't be accused of deliberately trying to plant a misleading idea into someone's head, but everyone knows that's what you are doing. 

This is exactly what two doctors at UCLA are trying to do in this article I found on Life Science Daily. I am sure it will have been reported elsewhere, too. The headline immediately draws us in: "Doctors raise vaping concerns". I wonder what those concerns are? Let's find out more. 

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Goodbye, Dr. Murthy. You won't be missed by vapers

On 7 April, I wrote this about Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, the then U.S. Surgeon General: 

"The fact that they are at least 95 per cent safer than combustible tobacco appears lost on Dr. Murthy. He has also concluded that exposure to second hand vapour is harmful, despite studies proving the opposite. Of all the things that young people could mixed up with, e-cigarettes are likely to be the least harmful. Although I am not advocating the use of tobacco or nicotine, the elephant in the room is that if e-cigarettes did not exist, many of those young Americans who have tried them would have gone on to smoke cigarettes. He should be grateful that this is not happening and that those young Americans who have tried e-cigarettes are not experimenting with much more dangerous drugs. But these things are always lost on the evangelical proselytising purist. Their focus is so narrow that they completely fail to see the bigger picture. 

"We need to keep on stating the bleeding obvious until people like Dr. Murthy are replaced by those pragmatists with open minds. In some countries, I fear that we are in for a long wait."

Well, I didn't have to wait long. As the Huffington Post put it, "And On His 92nd Day, He Fired The Surgeon General". He, of course, being Pres. Trump. I am please Trump has done this. Here's hoping that he is replaced by someone with an open mind. 

WATCH: Has Science beaten smoking?

At this year's Freedom Festival in Bournemouth, I chaired a panel discussion on vaping where I asked the following question: "Has science beaten smoking?" Joining me on the panel were Martin Cullip, Blogger; Angela Harbutt, Development Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA); and Chris Snowdon, Head of Lifestyle Economics at the IEA. 

The video below contains the first half of the debate. Thanks to a technical gremlin, the whole debate wasn't recorded, but it does give you a more than a flavour of what we discussed. 

Should e-cigarettes be sold to non-smokers?

An adult walks into a corner shop and asks for a packet of cigarettes. They name the brand they want and then pay for them. They walk out and light up. Does this sound like a perfectly legal activity to you? But what if the person who bought the cigarettes had never smoked before? Do you think the shopkeeper should have asked beforehand and refused to sell them cigarettes if they were going to smoke them for the first time? 

Before I go on, I am not suggesting that there should be a vetting procedure before someone buys a packet of cigarettes. So why does the Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) think the same should apply if someone wants to buy an e-cigarette or some e-juice? Here is a quote from Richard Hyslop, Chief Executive of IBVTA, published in today's Sun:

“Vape products should not be marketed to non-smokers or those under the age of 18.

“However, figures produced by organisations such as the Office for National Statistics and Ash (Action on Smoking and Health) demonstrate that over 90% of vapers in the UK are adult current or former smokers, therefore we do not believe this to be a significant problem.”

I agree that almost everyone who buys vape products are current or former smokers; no-one is doubting that. I agree that there isn't a significant problem, but why does IBVTA want people who are considering smoking to go ahead because it's their choice (which it is), but doesn't want any of its members to sell to someone who has never smoked, but is considering vaping, any vape products? 

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