Wednesday 22 October 2014

ASH Is Not The Vaper's Friend

Sigh. Another day; another vacuous e-cig ban is installed by the lazy and ill-informed.
E-cigarettes have been banned on the entire public transport network in London, the Standard has learnt. 
Passengers face fines for “vaping” on Tube, trains and buses as well as stations, platforms and depots. 
Transport for London implemented the ban in late August without any public announcement to  minimise the response from passengers.
We all know who's responsible for this, of course. ASH and their smokefree coalition, whose scaremongering transformed a country in 2007 from one which was largely unconcerned with ambient smoke to one which now empowers a minority of precious lambs in society who see vapour and either believe that they are about to die horribly, or complain of feeling "uncomfortable".

In other news today, e-cigs are being partly blamed/credited for a drop in tobacco sales.
The global cigarette market is expected to shrink this year as more people quit smoking or switch to e-cigarettes and as a weak global economy curbs their ability to spend.
This should surely be cause for Debs, Hazel or Amanda to pop down the Shoreditch Tesco Express for a bottle of bubbly, especially since they claim to be supportive of e-cigs. Yet I've often wondered why they sit idly by whilst bans on vaping like Transport for London's are spreading like wildfire.

Courtesy of the Sunday Times, we may have a clue.
THE estimated 2m people who use ecigarettes instead of tobacco face widespread bans on their use in coffee chains, shops and attractions. 
Starbucks confirmed this weekend it has banned the use of ecigarettes in its outlets, joining rail firms and airlines that already prohibit vaping. 
The announcement follows the publication of a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in August that recommended that ecigarettes should not be used indoors. Critics said the report was flawed and misleading. 
In addition to Starbucks, All Bar One, Caffe Nero, Pret A Manger, KFC and Nicholson’s pubs confirmed that they have banned ecigarettes. 
The National Portrait Gallery, the Tate Gallery, the Royal Opera House and the Natural History Museum are among main attractions that also prohibit their use. Some hotels, including Claridge’s in London, have also introduced bans.
Yes, and you can add all Premiership football grounds and Aviva Premiership rugby clubs to that as well -indoors and outdoors - as we see from the recent ASA consultation.

All of this activity and yet there is not a peep out of ASH. Neither do they stick their oar in at the Times, but the article does carry a graphic of polling performed by YouGov though.

I'm sorry, but I just don't believe those figures on e-cigs, since a similar BBC poll in an article in November last year entitled "Public 'seem to like' e-cigarettes" claimed "most support [e-cig] use in public places and don't want to see a ban".

But then, that was before all the negative publicity created by the World Health Organisation in August, and before this weekend's COP6 declaration that vape bans should be encouraged.

So we firstly have to look at the credibility of the pollsters. YouGov, of course, is ASH's pet as their President is Peter Kellner who also serves on ASH's board; has helped produce reports for them; and regularly displays his conflicts of interest. As far as I know, BBC Breakfast can't be accused of the same.

Unless Kellner has gone rogue, there is no chance whatsoever that ASH were not aware of this poll being sent to the Sunday Times, yet they didn't think it worthwhile to insist inclusion of a quote from them in support of e-cigs. Or perhaps they considered it but thought it more in their interests to support YouGov backing up their "delight" at the proposal for smoking bans in city parks. Priorities, eh?

Add into the mix that Deborah Arnott attended COP6 as a representative of the FCA; enthusiastically wrote some of their most vehement anti-smoking stuff, including threatening democratically-elected governments; but failed to speak out publicly against the FCTC's ludicrous recommendations towards e-cigs. Remember also that her organisation changed its terms of reference from controlling tobacco to controlling nicotine in 2010, and we get a full picture of what seems to be going on here.

ASH don't appear remotely concerned about vaping bans despite their public face of being a friend of the vaper. In fact they appear quite content to not rock the boat until the MHRA/TPD regulations are installed in 2016, and are complacent about COP6 recommendations rapidly resulting in wholesale restrictions on e-cigs for no justifiable reason.

It seems that ASH can issue press releases on a whim about all manner of irrelevant nonsense but remain consistently comfortable with disinformation and mounting e-cig bans which are - as the latest statistics prove - actively deterring people from switching from tobacco.

The silence is starting to become cacophonous.


JLTrader said...

I think the trend is clear: vaping will be banned in all places where smoking is banned at the moment, and I think that's a good thing for 2 reasons. One, those naive/misinformed/stupid vapers who believed they are superior to smokers will see that they're actually in the same boat, as far as the ban obsessed freaks are concerned. Second, they might start doing a little bit of research (it's easy nowadays) and realize that blaming smoking for all kind of diseases (starting with the somewhat plausible lung cancer in the 50s to the totally absurd ones later on) was nothing more than propaganda and a travesty of medicine all along.

Andy Morrison said...

Ash know fine well what they are doing here. They are just letting everyone around them do what they actually want done, but don't want to be seen to be doing the doing.
We, as vapers need to wake up to the fact that they will just let these people erode our freedom to vape away.
These stories and bans are only news for a day. They then just become accepted and Ash knows this.
What will eventually happen is that the bans will all merge together and become one massive big ban, but even as the last one comes into force, nobody will really have noticed.
By then it will be too late to start fighting the way we should be fighting now.
Only once a complete indoor ban comes into effect will the vendors really begin to feel the pinch - no more free tastings in the shops.
I know that LF and TW have made moves to try to overturn the TPD, but it' going to have little or no effect once the bans take their toll.
The vast majority of vendors are still doing absolutely nothing - we, the vapers are the only ones who are trying to take a stand. This cannot continue.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Your first para is spot on. Can't argue with the rest either.

This is why I was astounded that Robert West (someone who argues in favour of e-cigs) thought - even for a second - that parks smoking bans were a good idea. In every jurisdiction where parks bans have been implemented, e-cigs have always been included.

The title is about ASH, but they're not the only ones to say they support vaping while doing sod all meaningful about the creeping prohibition.

My2Ctsandmore said...

Right. Those naive/misinformed/stupid vapers will NEVER believe that they're actually in the same boat with smokers. Vapers and smokers are divided. Diide et impera works.

JLTrader said...

Give the Surgeon General or some other medical authority time to make up 'studies' that vaping is as 'dangerous' as smoking. After all, they do look very similar. And they both have nicotine !! :)))

Dick_Puddlecote said...

I'll add my customary comment that the vapers who switch and then attack smokers/smoking are most definitely a minority IMO. But yeah, the tobacco control industry will treat us all in the same contemptuous manner - they proved that with snus.

Dragonmum said...

Most of the "Naive/stupid/misinformed vapers" were once smokers, just like you; what you and those like you don't seem to get is that having been treated like lepers once, we have learned from it. We have organised all over the EU, we have formed a loose but enthusiastic and supportive "federation" - we may not beat the bastards, but we're sure as hell working our backsides off trying. You think we haven't done research? Now who's naive?

JLTrader said...

The thing is that vapers too will be treated like lepers because it's never been about health, and now it's becoming obvious to anyone but the completely brain damaged people. So what I hope these bans will achieve is a union of smokers and vapers and an awakening of all other people in a common front against the prohibitionists.

Dick_Puddlecote said...


Jax said...

You can organise, protest, and research all you like – it’ll make no difference because these people simply aren’t interested. They don’t care about public opinion, they don’t care about people’s rights to choose to do with their own bodies, and they don’t care about any two-bit smokers/vapers/drinkers/sugar-eaters” groups. The only thing which would ever force these dictatorial idealists away from their preferred path is vocal, loud
and active opposition by people not in those groups. Arguments against proposals emanating from those affected are all-too-easily brushed aside in a “well, you would say that, wouldn’t you?” manner.

Smokers and vapers uniting forces would be a step in the right direction, but it wouldn’t really cut the mustard because, as vapers have shown very clearly, only a few of them are interested in getting the support of smokers in the first place, and even those few who are aren’t really making a great deal of noise in terms of reciprocating the support by speaking up against the original smoking ban and the continued persecution of smokers.

But the bottom line is that in truth what both groups – smokers and vapers – need is a lot more outspoken and active support from total non-smokers of either the real or “e” variety. And from that quarter, the silence continues to be deafening.

Sam Duncan said...

I wouldn't be at all surprised if there's pressure being put to bear behind the scenes. This sudden chorus of bans from all directions seems very convenient for the TC/BP cartel's agenda. And yet ASH has absolutely nothing to say about it? H'mm...

RooBeeDoo said...

The ghastly Jon Snow bullys cuddle mascot:

JonathanBagley said...

Worrying trend, but not in practice such a disaster as the smoking ban. Some bans mean absolutely nothing - particularly if you vape flavourless eliquid. For example any ban in hotel rooms. Work bans in sole occupancy offices or where the other inhabitants don't mind. Bans in company cars. Some bans mean more inconvenience. Train bans make it difficult to vape on crowded trains. I think Northern Rail has banned vaping, but I vape on the way home. The major effects will be in open plan offices, pubs and air transport - if ecigs are ever banned from hand luggage. I don't agree with any bans other than those imposed by business owners and understand there will serious consequences for many vapers. I'm pointing out that ecig bans can never be very effective in banning ecig use.

Dragonmum said...

I share your hope, but vilifying vapers is not the best way to achieve that. I know many vapers hate smoking because they blame it for their ills, very few express any criticism of smokers. I chose to smoke and did so happily all my adult life, but it caught up with me. In my case I grabbed at vaping as a life-line, literally, and my efforts are for those who might find themselves in the same situation. Of course I know that SHS and all the other spurious pharma-funded research is a black lie - as an asthmatic vaper I have no ill-effects from sharing the company of smokers; I am more than aware that it is no longer a matter of Public Health, if it ever was. It's all about cash at every level. We have already achieved one big plus by organising and protesting; the EU were unable to carry their MEPs with them in their intention to medicalise vaping and put yet more cash in the pockets of Pharma - MEPs who had never heard of vaping until we educated them with our endless letters and petitions - at least the tax-payer won't be picking up the tab as a result. In my book the only losers are those too apathetic to fight; there's no disgrace in being beaten as long as you've given it your best shot.

Two more points. We are already being treated as lepers - at least those in the USA are; there have already been statements that vaping is more hazardous than smoking from several quarters, including those pillars of respectability at the WHO. Of course they have no political or financial agenda.............!

JLTrader said...

Actually I believe that vilifying vapers is the A-bomb to all the smoking/vaping related pseudoscience. If it wasn't for the sheer hysteria of the the antismoking movement, I never would've questioned the 'smoking is dangerous to your health' claim. And it used to be very difficult to get people to think for themselves and start doing research when the other side uses snappy soundbites like 'smoking kills' from behind fancy titles like Surgeon General. Now it's easy to point at anyone who says that smoking is dangerous and ask 'why do you say that smoking does so and so ?' And they would answer: because it's written on the packages, because health authorities determined that and so on. Oh really ? 'these are the same guys who ban vapor (steam) in open places. Do they really sound like doctors/scientists or like fruitcakes ? If they so blatantly lie about vaping, why would you assume that they're completely truthful about smoking ?' The more they say that vaping is as or more dangerous than smoking, the less credible they will be and the more people will start doing their own research into what I believe is the biggest health scam of the last 60 years or so.

nisakiman said...

Indeed, the bans on vaping are in many cases almost impossible to enforce. Unless you are being blatant about it, there are very few giveaway signs, and minimising the exhaled vapour really isn't too difficult. I always take my e-cig when I fly - there are many opportunities for a crafty puff, despite the ban. Not something you can do with a real ciggy.

I agree with JLTrader, that the more hyperbolic they get about e-cigs, the more they undermine their stance on real cigarettes. People may have been brainwashed by years of relentless anti-tobacco propaganda, but that doesn't mean that they are universally stupid. Mr non-smoking Joe Bloggs is starting to question the agenda of the anti-smoking fanatics, and as with the 'global warming' scam, he is starting to notice the chasm that lies between the hysterical claims emanating from TC and what he observes around him. And the attacks on e-cigs are only serving to focus his mind on the whole issue of smoking bans. Because I'm sure it hasn't escaped the notice of our Mr Joe Bloggs that pubs just ain't like they used to be - what's left of them.

Dragonmum said...

Exactly!! And the day you want to stage a "smoke-in "

protest at your local park/beach/open space - assuming they ever succeed with that one - we'll be there with our vapes.

westcoast2 said...

The strategy seemed to be to stay onside with TC to get a voice. This hasn't worked. JL Trader writes about the A-bomb, this hasn't gone off for some of the reasons Jax points out. Where do we go from here?

#gamergate shows what can happen when consumers stand up. Maybe there are some clues there?

Aside: After Cop#6, it seems strange some have criticized the WHO for protecting BigT, doesn't it? The WHO that does not employ smokers and encourages denormalisation. Why would supporters of vaping do this?

Until consumers recognise that they do have power and 'it is not about health' then maybe there can be progress. This requires effort from people who vape, smoke or do neither. I am still optimistic, as I have been these past 7 years when I first tried vaping, though a bit demoralised the one 'thing' that changes the game has yet to happen.

emma2000 said...

I think they are trying to push vapers back to smoking, after all no smokers no need for ASH and all the TC nuts so no lovely jobs, as always, follow the money.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Remember that they have a backstage pass in parliament so could probably have a word in Geraint Davies' ear.

My guess is they're whispering "well done, sunshine, keep it up!".

R.C. said...

...the only answer left for such people:

The Wake said...

The sad truth about smokers and vapers is the simple fact that they are gutless,spineless,chicken livered,yellow steaked cowards,all words and sod all else. Waist deep in tears they wade from pond to pond like clipped ducklings
occasionally one quacking slightly louder than the last one.
They wait in vain for a gathering of Eagles yet cling silent to a perch full of
chudderng parakeets ,same regrets,same protests,same inaction,week in ,week out.

nisakiman said...

Yada yada yada....

Your posts are becoming increasingly monotonous, Anon. Perhaps you should show us how it should be done. And don't tell me that handing out a few leaflets makes any difference.

Mr Puddlecote engages people in their thousands, maybe even tens or hundreds of thousands via his blog and his articles. He informs and entertains and makes people think. When one doesn't have mega-millions in funding, one has to do what is within ones power. He has certainly done far more to educate people than you have ever done or will ever do.

Marching on Westminster with scythes and pitchforks will only result in derision and arrest, and will achieve nothing. However, If you're up for funding a movement, please do.

Meanwhile, unless you're prepared to do more than snipe from the sidelines, just don't bother to say anything. Constructive comment is always welcome, including constructive critisism. But sniping, however eloquently cloaked, is still just negative sniping. Try putting your literary talents to better use.

These are my personal views, not those of Dick Puddlecote, by the way. I'm just an itinerant commenter, not DP's spokesman.

Ready when U R said...

Dear Nika ?
Sorry to read your concern for my sniping but may I be allowed to assure you
my anger is not aimed at bloggers like Dick & Co,most of whom I have met on
various actions or political venues.The web is indeed a usefull tool but hardly a weapon,it's main handicap the confinement to preaching to the converted.
Had the 7 years + of web campaigns achieved some minor amendments,I may have become an ardent follower,but for the time being I remain a believer in action,however limited that may be.
Just a suggestion,,,,,,,,,,,lets have a get together ,somewhere central in England ,bring some suggestions ,have an hand show ,and do it whatever it may be.........PS Dont forget to invite the Vapers
ANON yet known to many

westcoast2 said...


Smoking - Stony Stratford was a success. Stopped a byelaw.
Vaping - MHRA Option 3 was a success. Stopped immediate medicalisation.

Unfortunately the momentum generated at the time has dissipated and things have moved on. Indeed there is now a call for the England to be smokefree (and given the way they are going vapefree) in 5 years.

Will meetings help? Not sure. I have been to meetings and been enthusiastic, Maybe we have met? Due to other commitments, location or other reasons, few are able to attend.

Before 'the ban' I went to a meeting to see what could be done. It was in London so I expected quite a few people to come along. I was dismayed that there were only 12 people there.

While 'the public' go along with all this nothing will change. Many do agree this is ridiculous, yet it is not enough of a concern to them to warrant support, let alone action. Even Keith Richard, a supposed 'rebel', capitulated to the ban.

Why are people of power, money and influence not involved? Why are tobacco companies not more supportive? What is the 'thing' that will change minds?

Many do small things, writing a blog or commenting on articles. These are all good things to do. They should be applauded.

The blueprint used is becoming obvious to more, but even if people are against sugar taxes, alcohol taxes, vaping restrictions and know it is based on the tobacco blueprint, they still support the denormalisation of smoking. Some do recognise it is not about health, others still need to come to that realisation.

I do not understand the viciousness and spite directed at people, people otherwise like them, who smoke.

There is hope. There is a political disconnect. This will affect all organisations including public health (TCI) as trust is eroded.

There came a time when people stopped being afraid of nuclear weapons, how did that happen?

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