Freedom to Vape – before the nanny state takes charge

Over two years ago I wrote about the possibility of a vaping ban in public places in Wales. I thought at the time that any such proposed ban would be a one-off, not to be seen elsewhere in the UK. After all, if Public Health England states that e-cigarettes are 95 per cent safer than smoking combustible tobacco, surely vaping will be encouraged? Of course, the European Union (EU) hasn’t helped. When the EU saw a largely unregulated, thriving market, the bureaucrats couldn’t wait to wrap it up tightly in red tape. Even though e-cigarettes are not cigarettes (the title doesn’t help, I agree), the EU saw fit to regulate e-cigarettes as if they are, and Article 20 of the new Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) that came into force in May this year has to be described as one of the most ill-thought through, barmy pieces of regulation emanating from Brussels. (Chris Snowdon from the Institute of Economic Affairs has full analysis on Article 20 here)

Throughout the EU referendum campaign, we urged you to vote Leave to take back control. We need to urgently take back control in this area before the EU’s silly rules help ruin a growth industry and discourage people from giving up smoking.

But if banning vaping in public places is bad enough, there are even those who would like to ban it completely. In a debate on the TPD in the House of Lords on 4 July, Conservative Peer, Baroness O’Cathain, said just that. She is typical of those authoritarian types who want to ban everything they disagree with.

All of this concerns me, and it also affects me. Just like Earl Cathcart and Lord Brabazon of Tara who also spoke in a House of Lords debate earlier this year on Article 20, I too am a regular vaper. I am vaping as I write this article. I tried to quit smoking for many years and have finally stopped thanks to e-cigarettes. In the past I’ve tried hypnosis (a complete waste of money in my opinion), have chewed gum and have put on patches. I’ve tried doing it cold turkey a few times and I don’t think I got beyond a few days. Yet despite me no longer smoking, as far as officialdom is concerned, I still do.

Walking on to a platform at Birmingham New Street station last week, an announcement informed me that the smoking regulations had been revised to include e-cigarettes. On a train coming up from London, my e-cigarette was in my hand. All I was doing was playing with it. This still didn’t stop the conductor from reminding me that I couldn’t use it on the train. Friends have told me that they were told to stop vaping in an open stand at The Oval. Talking of cricket, Lord’s doesn’t appear any better, either. Some pubs have banned vaping using the excuse that the staff wouldn’t be able to differentiate between vapour and smoke. Come off it. If someone lit a cigarette in a pub these days you would be able to smell it a few seconds later. That excuse is about as lame as it gets.

Over the coming months, you will read more from me on this issue. E-cigarettes have the potential to save millions of lives. Public Health England has urged employers to have separate vaping rooms to encourage staff to move away from smoking cigarettes, and along with the Royal College of Physicians, has said that they are 95% safer than smoking combustible tobacco. There has been talk of the NHS prescribing e-cigarettes as one of their stop smoking aids. What is the point of banning people from using e-cigarettes, making them go out into the cold, and not only breathe in the cold air, but also the second hand smoke of other smokers? It makes them less likely to quit smoking. Encouraging pubs and restaurants to say that vapers are welcome in their establishment not only gives more freedom to vapers, it is better for public health and encourages more vapers to frequent those businesses. (Please follow our new Twitter account – @Vaping Freedom and like our new Facebook page)

According to a recent article in the Daily Mail, since e-cigarettes went on sale, they have reduced smoking-related deaths in the US by more than a fifth in those born after their introduction. Let’s encourage their use before either the bureaucrats regulate them into a slow death, or the nanny statists put them to the sword more quickly.

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