Much ado about nothing

Undercover investigation finds 9 in 10 vape shops prepared to sell to non-smokers

This is news according to the Royal Society of Public Health. According to the quotes in the media, there is an industry wide ‘Code of Conduct’ that, apparently, all vape shops supposedly abide by. Thing is, that really isn’t the case.

There are two main trade organisations responsible for the vaping industry in the UK – ECITA and IBVTA – that govern the non-regulatory rules, a “best practice” if you will. In this instance, the RSPH have picked up on a point in the IBVTA code of conduct:

Vape products are for current or former smokers and existing users of vaping devices, therefore never knowingly sell to anyone who is not a current or former smoker, or a current vaper.

Thing is, neither IBVTA or ECITA are regulatory bodies, and the code of conduct written by the IBVTA (likely by consensus) doesn’t apply to vape shops that aren’t members of the association. Unless member shops have to display some type of “We are members of IBVTA/ECITA” in the window, or at point of sale, I highly doubt that the figures being quotes by the RSPH and the media are anywhere close to being accurate.

In fact, according to the members list on the IBVTA website, there’s less than 50 members in total. Of course it is entirely feasible that the published list doesn’t contain all the members but even so, the RSPH visited 100 stores and identified that almost 90% didn’t adhere to the IBVTA code of conduct.

Well isn’t that surprising, seeing as the number of members is less than half the number of visited shops.

Of course, with this dramatic pronouncement from RSPH the usual suspects have appeared to offer their two penneth worth:

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of the charity Action on Smoking and Health, last night called on the vaping industry to get its house in order.

She said: ‘There is an opportunity for vape shops to be public health allies not enemies but they need to get their house in order to fully realise that opportunity.’

“Get our house in order”? What the fuck? Vape shops, and the industry in general will never be public health allies because the majority of us don’t subscribe to the totalitarian views of the public health racket. For many of us, the pleasure principle is the overriding factor. We do things because we want to, not because we are told to. But of course, vaping can’t be allowed to become socially acceptable:

Which basically says that the RSPH only wants e-cigs as a cessation tool only. As a quote from Shirley Cramer clearly says:

Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the RSPH, last night warned that non-smokers who use e-cigarettes risk becoming addicted to nicotine.

‘E-cigarettes are an effective smoking cessation aid, and should be marketed and used solely as a harm reduction tool for smokers,’ she said.

‘However our investigation has revealed that many vape retailers are turning a blind eye to their use by non-smokers, and effectively pushing them as a lifestyle product.

Of course e-cigs are a lifestyle product you utter cretin. Why do you think they’ve outstripped NRT for those that want to stop smoking? Why do you think the smoking prevalence rate has fallen faster with widespread e-cigarette use?

Vaping is fun. It isn’t a bloody medicine, never was and should never become one. Do that, and they’ll lose all their appeal. No-one wants to use a sanitised medicinal product for fun.

The IBVTA code of conduct is, quite frankly, protectionist. It’s designed to reward members, punish non-members and does absolutely nothing for the consumer. The wide choice of stores available, members or IBVTA or not, is a good thing. Having the best practice for retailers is also a good thing, but good grief, it isn’t a hard and fast rule set for non-members to abide by.

Both cigarettes and e-cigarettes are still a legal product, and my own views on underage sales notwithstanding, both should be freely available to any who want them.

This bollocks from RSPH isn’t about health, and it is abundantly clear in their calls:

  • Screen customers for current smoking behaviour, and advise those who have never smoked or vaped against starting vaping.

Why? There’s no evidence of significant harms. If a non-smoker wants to vape, then let them vape. A wide variety of e-liquid is available, and in case you’ve missed it the MTF survey from the US shows that the majority never-smoking vaping youth don’t use nicotine. Perhaps the next wave of surveys from interested parties in the UK can ask the same question?

  • Ensure all customers who smoke are aware of their local stop smoking service.

You mean the stop smoking services that are being closed and having their funding cut? Vaping is not solely a cessation tool. Deal with it.

  • Adopt a ‘Challenge 25’ approach to ensure the legal sale age of 18 is properly enforced.

No. Just fuck off.

Let us not forget that the Great Repeal Bill is on the horizon and the TRPR is up for scrutiny. This is perfectly timed to coincide with any attempts to get the e-cig portions repealed, we know ASH et al are in favour of the TRPR so no doubt this will be used to make sure repealing all or part of it will be difficult.

What a pile of fake news. There is no problem, never was. Some are just stirring the pot.

(Image credit Dawn Gilfillan/shutterstock.com)

5 thoughts on “Much ado about nothing

  1. How do we know that the “never smokers”, that visited Vape shops, were truly never smokers? If they had smoked a single cigarette in their lifetime, surely, they would be ex-smokers? Behind the bike sheds, and all that youthful experimentation.

    In the interests of accuracy, The Royal Society of Public Health, should show the due diligence, on what is the fundamental point of their “research-ish”.

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    • No doubt the “testers” were carefully vetted to ensure they’d never smoked. This whole thing really is a non-issue.

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  2. The “code of conduct” is obviously unenforceable. The IBVTA and their public health backers know they would (currently) incur in legal problems if they try to verify the “smoking status” of adult customers buying a legal product. Perhaps, this was the “trial balloon” that is aimed at preceding a sequence of gradual (and gradually intrusive) policies whose goal is to restrict the sale of vaping gear to those listed in official registries of smokers. Currently this would appear too harsh and would be strongly opposed (hence the IBTVA “code” is informal).
    This is what tobacco control does, the “salami theory”: first the trial balloon, then some
    restrictions, which once taken and accepted slowly lead to more and more restrictions. Vaping manufacturers and vendors should not play this game: force IBVTA and its public health backers to formalize and make the “code of conduct” binding now (not when it is too late) and sue them when they violate the rights of privacy of costumers.

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    • This “code of conduct” is nothing more than appeasement of the tobacco control shysters. I’m not one to tell a retailer how to conduct their business, but this code is playing by tobacco control rules. It needs to be fundamentally scrapped and rewritten for the benefit of consumers and the industry, not tobacco control.

      The timing of this “investigation” is a little too coincidental for my tastes, something far bigger, and underhanded is going on.

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