Wednesday 9 November 2016

Meeting Asian Vapers

Following on from yesterday's article about the bizarre chaos at COP7, I mentioned that I had later attended an extremely useful event designed for vapers from a number of countries in Asia.

The first thing to note is that I finally saw an Indian vaper! His name was Nikhil, and a very personable young lad he was too. 

When I say finally, I mean that prior to that event I had not seen a single vaper in Delhi - and apart from Monday night's gathering, still haven't. In short, they just don't seem to exist. I quizzed Nikhil as to why this was the case and he told me that the police often arrest vapers if they vape in public, primarily on the grounds that they believe that the devices are being used to inhale cannabis juice. 

This is most likely because general awareness of vaping is scant. To give you an example, when I arrived at the airport at the weekend, the hotel had forgotten to send the car I requested to pick me up. Two representatives of the hotel - suited and booted - were apologetic and called another which could be with me in 15 minutes (it was a bit longer than that in the end). They took me to the road outside with my luggage and I got my e-cig out for the first time since Heathrow; that's when the questions started. 

I tried as best I could to answer them but it was clear they were unfamiliar with the products and they both admitted they had never even heard of an e-cig let alone seen one. In fact, as I vaped and let out a small cloud on a low-powered device, one of my helpful shepherds actually stepped back in astonishment. That gives you a clue as to how much work Indian vapers have to do get established in the country. So it was immense that quite a few determined vaping afficionados turned up to discuss what can be done about it, especially in the shadow of COP7. 

It was a very successful networking session which also included vapers from The Philippines, Hong Kong and Malaysia that I know of.

It was a whole new world for me and emphasised that - although vapers in the UK have their problems - the difficulties we face pale into insgnificance compared with these guys.

Having said that, many of the problems are identical to the ones UK vapers have come up against and, in many areas, still do. The most prominent being, of course, an inability to properly get the message out that vaping is all but harmless because there exist repellent tobacco control dinosaurs failing to live with the times and instead producing junk science and pinheaded ideological reasons to object to vaping.

And the interests of the Asian vapers will be instantly recognisable by those who vape in the UK. Very sociable, these vapers were talking devices, juice and regulations before we had even received our first cup of tea. The e-liquid testing scene below, for example, doesn't look dissimilar to one you might see in a vape-friendly UK venue too. 

Anyone who watches VTTV will know that I recorded some interviews on the night as a pre-arranged exclusive for Dave Dorn and the gang (you can watch the whole show here). They went remarkably well, especially the one with Tom Pinloc of The Philippines who gave his thoughts on how he saw the future of vaping under the rule of murderous dictator - and COP7's best friend - Ricardo Duterte. What also surprised me about his tale is that there are apparently around 100,000 vapers in the Philippines, served by a number of different consumer groups. That is quite a force to be reckoned with, but it will have to be while extreme prohibitionist Duterte is in charge down there.

Indian vapers boasted of the same kind of high numbers as the Philippines, so I also interviewed two Indian vapers and a representative of the newly-formed Association of Vapers India. These short video stories (on average about 5 mins each) were received very warmly in the chat area of VTTV and I've had requests to make them available widely. I always meant to do so anyway, so embedded below (in the order I filmed them) are the thoughts of vapers living far away in hostile environments but still fighting their corner admirably. They are well worth viewing to get an idea of the challenges being met in that area of the world. 

It's been a very busy week so far out here, but check back for the next blog which will be discussing a very special award for the WHO and the night I met A Bilion Lives Director Aaron Biebert. Oh yes I did, and have pics to prove it!

1 comment:

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