Friday 7 April 2017

Today's Lesson In Who Not To Trust

Welcome, Ladies and Gents, to today's lesson in our ongoing course on why you should never trust a tobacco controller.

You may have noticed that the Royal Society of Public Health released a report today on who vape shops sell their legal products to, since it was covered pretty widely by the media, including in the Daily Mail, Independent, Telegraph, and Gizmodo amongst others. It was, of course, also given loud prominence by the BBC.
Almost nine in 10 e-cigarette shops in the UK are selling vaping products to non-smokers against the industry's code of conduct, an investigation reveals. 
The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) said 87% of shops were knowingly or unwittingly prepared to sell e-cigarettes to people who have never smoked or vaped.
It's the usual anti-smoking cocktail of misdirection, ignorance and scaremongering, but what's extra significant about the RSPH doing this is that they are another 'public health' organisation which claims to be on the side of vapers.

They are just the latest of such bodies to stab vapers in the back. Just like a football team which nobbles the opposition's star player by taking turns to clatter his shins enough to earn a yellow card but not a red, it seems today was RSPH's turn to rubbish the e-cigs category in the minds of the public, while still pretending that they are the vapers' friend.

ASH have been doing this for years; from campaigning to ban all non-medicinal e-cigs in the early years, through to many and varied further abuses in the intervening period. Arnott and pals have kept up the facade of being on board with vaping while simultaneously doing everything in their power to handicap its progress.

In 2014, the thankfully now defunded Smokefree South West shat on the category by swearing to vaping advocates they wouldn't undermine e-cigs but then treacherously doing so anyway, and last year ASH Wales chipped in by "fully welcoming" the UK's first ever outdoor vaping ban.

Today's effort from RSPH came about due partly to a cross between appeasement and cronyism from the Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA). In their code of conduct they produce for their members (and their members only) , they include this rather stupid clause.
Vape products are for current or former smokers and existing users of vaping devices, therefore never knowingly sell to anyone who is not a current or former smoker, or a current vaper.
Erm, why? E-cigs are a product which anyone over 18 can legally buy, this condition is just a sop to public health miseries, and is tacitly accepting the false premise that nicotine in e-cigs is a wildly dangerous and highly addictive drug, which it isn't.

It was an open invite to the RSPH to come along, pretend that this is some kind of industry-wide set of guidelines instead of a voluntary code with some spineless simpering to tobacco controllers in it, and exploit it for a report like today's.
Chief executive of the RSPH, Shirley Cramer, said e-cigarettes should be treated as "evidence-based quitting aids, rather than lifestyle products", and therefore should be aimed at smokers. 
She said: "We applaud the Independent British Vape Trade Association code of conduct, which is in line with this principle. 
"However, as our investigation shows, the majority of vape shops in the UK are not adhering to these important standards. 
"We are keen to support the sector to strengthen their codes of best practice, and for individual retailers to sign up and ultimately adhere to them."
I don't know about you, but that almost sounds like an advert for the IBVTA to me. And you know what? In order for IBVTA to fully comply with Shirley Kramer's demands, I think the IBVTA should insert another condition into their code of conduct that states all vendors must advertise that their products are "evidence-based quitting aids". Oh hold on, they can't because that would be illegal under advertising regulations.

What a crock of shit.

RSPH's study apparently toured 100 different shops (not necessarily IBVTA members so not bound by this code) and must have cost a fair bit considering they also employed secret recording equipment to do so. I'm sure it must have been very exciting for them but - as Clive Bates points out today - it has no value whatsoever for 'public health'.
This is a matter of adult choice involving a low-risk activity that is an alternative to a high-risk activity.  Is RSPH about to start intervening on every minor risk-taking activity? 
So, have you considered that this is simply none of your business? Perhaps you should stop wasting time and money on stunts that have the aim or effect of demonising much safer alternatives to smoking, harming decent businesses doing a good job, misleading the media and diverting attention from much more pressing problems. 
For the Royal Society of Public Health, this has not been its finest hour.
Quite. Though it could well be its grubbiest and most ignorant hour.

Nobody comes out well in this. Totally Wicked - whose owner is founder of the IBVTA funnily enough - has applauded the "reliable" and "important" RSPH research despite it further encouraging a public already willingly disposed to disliking vaping to view it as a grubby industry. Well done guys!

Meanwhile, the RSPH has shown that they have absolutely no clue about the subject matter if they cannot recognise that e-cigs being "lifestyle products" is exactly why they are successful, and - as Bates says above - have also sullied their reputation while dumping on vapers from a height.

Oh yeah and RSPH, I have news for you. Cigarettes are sold to non-smokers. Every. Single. Day.

Have you considered that while you were raising alarms about a non-story in the country's press? Sometimes you have to wonder if the tobacco control industry is becoming terrified that vaping could threaten their funding once politicians realise that they don't need to spunk millions of our taxes on prohibitionist make-works, when it's been vaping doing all the hard yards for smoking cessation in recent years at no cost to the Exchequer whatsoever.

See also:

In cheap publicity stunt Royal Society of Public Health sounds a fake alarm about a non-problem - Clive Bates

Much ado about nothing - Facts Do Matter

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