Sunday 27 November 2016

Freedom To Vape Campaign Scores A Hit

Earlier this month, Freedom to Vape produced an excellent report after FOIing every local authority in the country to ask their policy on e-cigs at work. It was riddled with explanations oozing laziness, ignorance and often quite shocking disregard for its staff, as I wrote about here.

The report doesn't appear to be a wasted exercise either. Quite a few local newspapers picked up the information about their particular council to run a story - a benefit of localising the issue for regional journos starved of things to write - with glimmers of common sense breaking through as a result. Like this from Bristol, for example.
The Mayor of Bristol has conceded that council employees could be allowed to vape at their desks – or at least in a special indoor vaping room – rather than outside with smokers of traditional cigarettes. 
Marvin Rees could meet representatives from the vaping industry to discuss possible changes to the rules for council workers who have given up smoking and taking up vaping instead.
And this is because?
The Bristol Post reported earlier this week that the pro-choice lobby the Freedom Association claimed all but three local councils in the country – including Bristol and its neighbouring authorities – were going against Public Health England guidelines in treating vaping in the same way as smoking.
Bravo The Freedom Association!

This is a quirk of how local authorities operate. Much of the business will be performed by people in offices who really can't be bothered to make a fuss, and they've had anti-smoking harpies on their case for decades. A lack of understanding of vaping along with indolence from the likes of PHE, ASH, CRUK etc. in making councils aware of their advice means that they produce stupid policies founded on nothing but rumour and hearsay.

However, the buck stops with elected members of the council, and if they are outed by the media or receive a lot of correspondence on a subject, they tend to get quite irate at the officers in their authority for allowing it to happen. I can imagine that the Mayor of Bristol would have been deeply embarrassed that his staff were so ill-informed as to come up with a policy which made his council look foolish and not keeping up with current 'public health' guidance which is in their purview now. Council taxpayers certainly don't tend to take kindly to their council being run by idiots and often boot out councillors as a result while the office staff get away scot free.

With this in mind, you could have a bearing on your own council's policy by reading the Freedom to Vape report here; seeing if your local authority is one of those which currently has a stupid stance on vaping; and writing to an elected councillor or two to object.

Vapers in Power have done some great work on the subject and make it very easy to make your views known in a very short space of time. Go have a look here, they have done half the work for you.

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