Thursday 12 October 2017

Signage And The Anti-Vaping Status Quo

In July, the government released its Tobacco Control Plan (TCP). It claimed to be supportive of e-cigarettes, including this part about vaping in public.
Public Health England has produced guidance for employers and organisations looking to introduce policies around e-cigarettes and vaping in public and recommend such policies to be evidence-based. PHE recommends that e-cigarette use is not covered by smokefree legislation and should not routinely be included in the requirements of an organisation’s smokefree policy.
As vaping bans sweep up and down the country without a whimper of objection from 'supportive' tobacco control groups we could mention, it doesn't appear that many employers or businesses are taking much notice of the TCP. In fact, it doesn't even appear that NHS Trusts have bothered to read it either, here's a telling picture of two ghastly goons from Chesterfield unveiling their retarded policy to the media earlier this month.

The very next day, Darent Valley Hospital in Kent went one better. They didn't just completely ignore the TCP, they also celebrated the Stoptober campaign ... by banning the products Stoptober said smokers could use instead of tobacco!

Of course, as we have come to expect, these creeping bans on vaping were met with complete silence by those in the tobacco control industry who claim to be onside. 'Twas ever thus.

In the meantime, Transport for London - which, again, is a state-funded arm of government - insists on these signs on all its taxi and private hire vehicles in the capital.

It is the legally-mandated no smoking sign, just with the addition of vaping as if to imply that using e-cigs is against the law - which it is not, of course - but they tweet regularly about how you can be fined by a court anyway. As I understand it, if a vehicle does not carry this sign, it will fail inspection and not be licensed.

Don't you have to wonder about how sincere the TCP and the tobacco control industry is about supporting vaping when these signs are going up without so much as a stern word from anyone in 'public health'?

Recently we have also seen private companies pretending that e-cig use is against the law when it isn't. I wrote last month about London Midland trying to brazen it out when challenged that - despite what their policy says - vaping in public is not a criminal offence. Yet here we have Aldi claiming the same thing.

Greggs, too, either think vaping is against the law, or just like pretending that it is.

Now, in light of this apparent support of vaping recently from 'public health', how can it be that so many organisations - both private and public sector - can be allowed to bastardise the law to insinuate that using e-cigs is a criminal matter rather than just a boneheaded policy decision by lazy and/or stupid people?

Surely making claims, either directly or indirectly, of law-breaking when it is nothing of the sort should be subject to some kind of sanction in a country that supposedly values freedom? Well, apparently not, because you see the government itself has said that this kind of fraud is perfectly OK.

Their update to the The Smoke-free (Signs) Regulations in 2012 states:
"While it remains a legal duty to display at least one legible no-smoking sign in smoke-free premises and vehicles, the owners and managers will have discretion as to the design and location of no- smoking signs."
In other words, you can change the legal no smoking sign however you choose, and many have chosen to include e-cigs in theirs.

How about that for joined-up government, eh? The TCP makes a pledge to support vaping, PHE provides advice saying that policies should distinguish between smoking and vaping, but all the while a government statutory instrument allows a wild west affair whereby just about anything can be described as illegal alongside smoking ... and the same state-funded organisations claiming to be in support of tobacco harm reduction just whistle and look the other way.

A cynic might conclude that seeing as tobacco control gets its grants from advocating tax hikes, bans and pseudo-prohibition, it is quite happy for vaping to be demonised in this way, considering how e-cigs have clearly been far more successful in creating former smokers - without any cost to the taxpayer whatsoever - than anything they have done at huge cost to the public purse.

Every week we see research studies from tobacco control about safety of e-cigs, liquids, views of children on vaping, even social media scrutiny of vapers themselves. I have yet to see a single study, though, which touches on the derogatory effect of vaping bans on smokers switching. It's almost like they are happy with the way things are going and really couldn't care less, isn't it?

The status quo is very profitable for tobacco control, don't expect their 'support' to be anything more than a few words here and there designed to con vapers that they actually care, when they really don't. 

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