Them or Us

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of being able to attend the e-cigarette summit at the Royal Society. It was an eye-opening experience, not least of which the number of speakers there exalting the positives of vaping, but it wasn’t that that was the most eye-opening. There were some that were conspicuous by their absence, and no I’m not talking about the opponents of e-cigarettes.

At some point during the day, two blog posts were released (here and here) which prompted the Spock eyebrow from me.

I had the pleasure of meeting Simon Clark, albeit briefly, at Vapefest earlier this year and his impromptu talk only confirmed what I already believed. Smokers and vapers need to work together.

I’ll re-iterate a comment that Simon made on the day:

However, having rubbed shoulders with some of the leading e-cig advocates at Vapefest, I’m more convinced than ever that what smokers, vapers and tolerant non-smokers have in common is far greater than our differences.

What we, as vapers and mostly former smokers, have in common with smokers and tolerant non-smokers is far greater than our differences. Let that sink in a little then read the various posts on the e-cigarette summit.

I am, put bluntly, a simple man. I’m quite content with letting people make their own damn choices. I do not judge. If people want to smoke then that’s fine, if people want to give up smoking (in whichever way they choose), again that is absolutely fine. If folk don’t want to give up smoking, I have no problem with that either.

So it came as somewhat of a surprise, that when reading Simon’s blog and the subsequent comments to see vapers damned as being grossly offensive. I personally would have thoroughly enjoyed hearing Simon Clark speak at the Summit, if only to give his views – some of which I agree with, some I don’t, but that’s fine by me. Any and all comments made by Simon or anyone else gets added to my thinking and is used to form my own opinions.

Sadly, a tweet from Simon (“The #ecigsummit resembles yet another public health convention – and, boy, do we need another one of those”), for me at least did seem to be correct. It was pretty much those in public health and tobacco control joining forces to extol the virtues of vaping. To an extent, I don’t have any real issue with that. Conferences, summits, meetings and so forth happen and they happen with increasing regularity. Does this mean I wholeheartedly trust or believe what is said? Fuck no. That’s the 75% rule in play.

Simon, in his post, mentions the following:

A couple of months ago, in a spirit of constructive criticism, I suggested a panel featuring an ex-smoking vaper, a dual user, a heat not burn practitioner, and a committed smoker. It would be interesting, I thought, to get a range of consumer perspectives.

I would pay good money to see that. Seriously. There is this notion that all smokers, dual users and any other user that doesn’t “fit” with ideals are to be excluded. To my mind that is inherently wrong. However, context is also important. If the Summit was not exclusively on e-cigarettes but on tobacco control in a more general way, I would expect (read demand) that all parties be represented. Sadly, as we all know if the Tobacco Industry were going to speak you can pretty much guarantee that some in tobacco control would openly refuse to attend.

I’m no fan of the tobacco industry, but I’ll happily listen to what they have to say. Same for tobacco control and public health.

What came out of the e-cigarette summit was positive. For vapers only. As I stated in my review of the day, I went as a member of Vapers In Power, which to an extent limits what I can say as I’m representing an organisation that has its foundations in vaping and vaping only. The same can be said for those that attended as members of the New Nicotine Alliance. As individuals, not representing an organisation we do have our own beliefs and opinions on matters related to smoking and vaping, most of them are similar when it comes to smoking.

I’ve described myself, when talking about when I smoked, as someone who society looked down on. Someone who smelled, was disgusting, was an all-round bad person because of the choice I made to smoke. The fact that anti-smoking organisations, like ASH are “on-side” with vaping makes me decidedly uncomfortable, I had enough of ASH and their propaganda when I was smoking, I definitely do not want to be used as a weapon against smokers just because I now use an e-cigarette instead of quitting altogether.

As a vaper, I feel that there is a bloody big scorpion on my back just waiting to strike.

I wrote the following in my post on Vapefest:

Folks, smokers are not our enemy here, if anything they could very well be one of our biggest allies. You may not like the act of smoking, but guess what, vaping by itself mimics the act of smoking. Stop adding to the stigma that already surrounds smokers, you were one once and it wasn’t fun was it? Many smokers I know through social media actually hate the vaping community and will do nothing for us, simply because we don’t offer anything but scorn to them. It’s wrong, and it needs to stop. We need to work together.

Many vapers are openly supportive of smokers and do as much as they can to preserve the freedom of choice. I myself have responded to the various consultations on smoking ban extensions as an opponent of them. Back when the public place smoking ban was enacted I was silent, because I didn’t know how to respond. Back then I was one of “them”. A sheeple.

Now I’m one of “Us”, I abhor what has been done to smokers. I fucking well lived through it. My primary goal, as a vaper is to preserve choice. The choice for smokers to switch if they wish. The choice for vapers to use their devices. The choice for smokers to carry on smoking if they wish.

I’ll work with smokers and their representative groups, if they’ll work with me.

21 thoughts on “Them or Us”

  1. When I started vaping, it was not even on the TC radar. I did raise concerns of what might happen if they did get involved. This us/them was there and so nothing really happened. I was a dual user and commented on various forums about this, as well as the consequences if TC became involved. From a small beginning It would seem TC are now majorly involved and, as far as I can see, starting to takeover. Always optimistic, I had hoped this could be avoided. Anyways, we are where we are.

    For those of us who are liberal, in the classic sense, it is hard to understand why anyone would go against individual freedom and autonomy. TC do go against these for ‘the greater good”(the greater good), while appearing not to The scorpion’s nature is collectivist. The ends justifies the means. Note how SmokeFree becomes TobaccoFree becomes (shock) NicotineFree. In between you have the salami slicing.

    Anyways make a comment on the Forest site or talk to that nice chap Simon Clark, maybe something will work out. It is also worthwhile reading the post there “Life and times of a dedicated smoker” which includes an excellent piece by Pat Nurse.

    1. I read both posts on Taking Liberties yesterday (part of what prompted this post).

      A lot of the tactics used by TC against smokers are based on shoddy, conflicting science. Sadly, it’s more or less the same now with their stance on vaping.

      Do I trust them? Fuck no.

      The greater good is best served by letting us, the people decide for ourselves.

  2. I would happily work with you if your view as a happy vaper is the one that’s mainstream. I will never work with any organisation that tries to woo favour from TC using anti-smoker/ing propaganda to gain ground.

    1. I’d like to see some propaganda being used against TC. In the meantime, I’ll work with whoever I need to to further my primary goal – free choice for all.

      I appreciate that I can’t speak for all vapers, but there are a number who think like me.

      1. My honest belief is that vaping is only attacked because of smoking. Fight for smoking first and foremost as one org together – and the right to vape is then naturally protected. Distinguish between smoking and vaping – which is what too many vapers do – and I think TC will finish us off with vapers’ help and then turn on vapers when there is no one left to stand up and fight for them. Sadly too few vapers can see this.

  3. FYI, y’see, the anti-smoker thugs are weaponsing ecigs against smokers and trying to push us into 3rd class ciitzens with vapers help.

    You’ve only got to look at the offensive remarks by Sandwell NHS who want to keep vapers away from smokers in case we harm them. #C####Ts.

    Vapers must decide who’s side they are on. Those of you who are tolerant, and see that to win we must fight together, should leave the intolerant and smokerphobic vapers orgs and join with us. I’d love to think that vapers will fight Sandwell’s assumption that smokers are harming vapers but sadly I fear they’ll use it to promote their product of choice over ours and not give a damn that they are helping to squeeze smokers out of society even more.

    “As research into the effects of e-cigarettes is not yet comprehensive, creating a ‘semi-detached’ shelter for both e-cig and normal cigarette smokers was suggested.
    “This would stop e-cigarette smokers inhaling smoke from cigarettes.”

    It’s clear they are going to come for vapers when they make up the same evidence as was made up about the myriad of harms from smoking if vapers stand by and let this new segregation of “whites” and “niggers” to happen.

      1. It is, unfortunately, the way things are going. All vapers must open their eyes and take off the blinkers or their days are numbered and it will take less time to turn them into social pariahs than it did to turn the public against smokers.

  4. Let’s be honest here smokers/vapers. Correct me if I am mistaken, but did each and everyone of us not experience at some point of smoking that we wish we had the ability to stop; quit smoking altogether? I certainly know I have and everyone I know who smokes or did smoke expressed just that more than once. All the surveys I have come across no matter who took them expressed the same results. Personally I take that as being evident we have reason for such feelings. On my own journey of smoking vs vaping I conclude turning to vaping nicotine my life which has been in peril if I don’t manage to quit smoking will end much earlier since being diagnosed with advanced emphysema. For me it was a matter of opening my mind to the possibility they ( vaporizers ) are far less harmful. I’m still here as a result of that basic concept of Fake cigarette with Fake smoke.

    That’s right, I managed to QUIT SMOKING. My life has been extended and still of value to those around me whom I happen to care about. Smokers are a major concern to me. Like me, I just want those fucking parasites who profit from my inability to quit to simply do just that… FO! It’s my free choice so get lost and go peddle your Fake concern to a Politician looking for a vote. They did!

    That is until Hon Lik came along. Please, everyone out there get a grip on this and stand together for a change. Smokers have been tossed to the curb unless they have something to contribute to that Tobacco Control Ideaology. ” Quit or Die ” meanwhile collecting their own benefits of a non-$moker.

    Regards: Ray Yeates aka Anecdotal Evidence.

    #VAEP Vaping Advocacy Education Project

    ” We can do……… what I alone cannot ”

    image: with permission #ABillionLives

    1. Actually I didn’t have a compelling health reason to quit.
      Just some annoying morning cough with those nasty globs of slime.
      And more annoyance caused by tax greedy meddlers fleecing me.

      A half hearted quit attempt (patched) was a total failure. The misery it caused wasn’t worth it.

      I had no intention to quit anything, when I tried vaping out of curiosity. I switched simply for enhanced pleasure. That the annoying issues I had with smoking are gone now, is a welcome bonus.

      Everybody should have the same freedom of choice. The option to try vaping and find out whether it’s so much better that a complete switch is desirable, dual use the right thing, or not really a valid alternative. Personal choice.

      1. I am hearing, and with you on that. Now if only we could all realize just what it is that cause so much inner conflict among smokers/vapers we could get on with an effective strategy to rid ourselves of the soul eating ” parasite$ “.

        image: with permission #ABillionLives

  5. Well said, spot on!
    The antz have pushed the defensive buttons, in order to cement their own stand. Reacting defensively is always a loosing battle, because we tend to bring out our childish arguments.
    Thankfully more & more smokers have spoken up, awakening the adult within.
    Let’s all drop the defensive behavior and stand strong together for our unalienable right to enjoy life as like it.

Comments are closed.