Who speaks for the vaper?*

Yesterday Simon Clark tweeted that he was going to be speaking on BBC Radio Oxford about vaping bans. He had been contacted by the BBC for comment. Simon is against bans and I trust him to make a good case against this one. I did react to his tweet with a sense of despair as once again a media outlet has contacted Forest about vaping. “Forest’s mission is to protect the interests of adults who choose to smoke or consume tobacco”. Rightly so but vapers don’t consume tobacco. It behoves the media to not colligate the two.

I meant no offence to Simon or Forest for that matter, they serve their cause well enough but rather I was wondering if the BBC had deliberately sought to bundle vaping with smoking or was it just laziness on their part. While Simon would defend both with equal vigor, the fact that it is Simon defending vapers rights is itself part of the problem.


Simon blogged about our exchange and shared his thought on it here; You’re welcome


“in my experience the vaping community has still to get its act together, media wise”

Harsh but possibly fair. I’m sure Simon knows how hard it is for part-time volunteers to break into the circle of contacts media have as ‘go to’ voices. Never mind the commitment required to maintain such status. Vapers advocates are not paid for doing so, they fund their own efforts and have to maintain jobs as well.

Also, what does he mean by “vaping advocates”? The tobacco control industry is full of them – ASH, Public Health England, Cancer Research, and so on.

This is what got me thinking! What do I mean?

I do some advocacy myself, this blog, some tweets and positive support of the The New Nicotine Alliance (UK) . It’s not much and not nearly enough but right now it’s all I as a consumer can do.

From the NNA’s about us; “We wish to see a mature public and organisational understanding of the potential of safer nicotine products for reducing cigarette smoking, including their safety and efficacy, and hence contribute to the reduction in cigarette smoking.” See the difference between this mission statement and Forests one?   Now I’m not criticising the NNA, its mission is different from Forests for a good reason. It is there to promote harm reduction. But that begs the question in the title of this piece. Who speaks for the vaper?

when it comes to defending vaping in ‘public’ places – including pubs, clubs, beaches, parks and other spaces, indoors and out – I don’t think anyone has Forest’s track record, and we have the cuttings, broadcasts and parliamentary submissions to prove it.

True but it’s more by default than anything else.If you are the one contacted for comment then you will have the track record.

We’re also the only consumer body that has consistently fought for choice on tobacco and emerging products such as e-cigarettes.

That, I think, gives us a certain credibility.

This is an exaggeration at best. Yes, you are the only one fighting for choice on tobacco products but that’s your job Simon, you certainly are not the only one fighting for choice on e-cigs, Snus or other emerging products. The NNA defends vigorously the rights of consumers of other nicotine delivery products. It engages with policy-makers and regulatory bodies, and comments on legislative and policy issues. It fully supports the right of smokers and others to make their own choices based on evidence.

The NNA is completely independent of commercial interests in relevant industries (e-cigarettes, tobacco, pharmaceutical companies, etc). It operates on a not-for-profit basis and is free from commercial bias. Our policies and public statements are evidence-based,

That, I think gives them some considerable credibility.  What you have Simon, is Profile!


But thanks and I hope you play a blinder on the wireless, we need all the help we can get. I’m just not sure being always represented by Forest is as helpful as you think it is.

*Yeah but at this stage, everyone has bowdlerized this iconic title so.. my turn.





3 thoughts on “Who speaks for the vaper?*

  1. Yes, of course. We smokers understand that you and the likes of the NNA don’t want to be associated in any way with us dirty filthy addicts as long as we enjoy smoking. I mean, how could you possibly win favour unless you are allowed to speak up for vaping while bashing smokers and claiming we all want saving with your miracle product which no doubt would also push the scam of SHS to gain acceptance for vaping.

    Speak for yourselves by all means. Sadly, I don’t think you can without throwing us under the bus. That’s why Simon is best. He speaks fairly and honestly about smoking and vaping without patronising or attacking one side to promote the other.


  2. A very fair point Pat. And something I am struggling with too. I personally have no objection to Simon representing both sides, my gripe is more with the media always assuming vaping = smoking. If you read some of the other blogs especially “can’t see the people for the forest”, you might see what I’m getting at.
    I’m not sure it’s a case of one over the other, more like two different arguments. One of which is unfortunately lost rightly or wrongly. Keep an eye for more on the topic of common ground and the irrational stigmatization of smokers. I refuse to use the euphemism denormalization.


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