Could what is happening to vapers in Allegheny County happen here in the UK?

Allegheny County is in the US State of Pennsylvania. It has a population of over 1.2 million, and is the county seat of Pittsburgh. Last Monday, the Allegheny County Board of Health held a public hearing to help decide if there should be a ban on the indoor use of e-cigarettes. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, fifteen people testified, and what happened is a microcosm of the debate that is taking place in the United States and across other parts of the world - including the UK.  First to speak was Ryan Huntermark. The 21 year-old told the hearing that he started smoking at the age of 14. Mr Huntermark said he gave up smoking thanks to e-cigarettes, claims to be healthier than he was and has lost a 100 pounds in weight.  Continue reading

Thoughts from UK Vapefest 2016

I didn't have any preconceptions before I attended this year's UK Vapefest. I had never attended one before, and although I had read about them, reviews are always subjective - as indeed this one is.  Firstly, I had a great time. I am usually a gregarious character, so meeting new people is meat and drink to me. And there were plenty of new people to meet. Despite the best endeavour of Arriva Trains Wales to thwart me, I managed to arrive on Saturday in time for something to eat and drink before I spoke in the Vapers in Power marquee. Continue reading

California bans vaping in public places. Will the UK be next?

According to the Los Angeles Times, vaping is a craze. When I think of crazes, I think of things that are short lived. I'm sure we can all remember the Rubik's Cube. When I was growing up everyone seemed to have one. As kids we would see who could complete the puzzle the fastest. Most of us couldn't even complete it, but that was part of the fun. They didn't stay in vogue long - at least not for us kids at the time - and we soon moved on to other things to amuse us.  Vaping, though, does not fall into that category. For me, it is the only way I have been able to give up smoking cigarettes. I'm not criticising those who still smoke - far from it. That is their choice and I would never take it away from them. But for people like me (roughly 2.8 million in the UK alone) who have either given up smoking or have substantially reduced their consumption, they are an ideal way to satisfy our nicotine craving, and according to Public Health England, they are also 95 per cent safer than smoking cigarettes.  Continue reading

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) Continue reading