Is there actually a vaping community, or am I dreaming?

It seems like years since I last made an entry in this blog.  It has in fact only been a few weeks.  So little time has passed in the ever evolving world and so much has happened.

For a while there was plenty to be happy about within the vaping world. Dr Farsalinos managed to crowd fund his research, although it took a last ditch effort from the community.  The San Francisco #curbit campaign got hijacked by vapers on social media.  #FormaledhydeGate rumbled on, again.  Got thoroughly debunked, again.  The US Surgeon General called for “Clarity” on electronic cigarettes.

The California Department of Public Health declare e-cigs a “health threat” prompted by the pug faced troll, more commonly known as Stanton Glantz.  Various “public health” agencies and charities immediately called for bans and restrictions, etc. etc. etc. More yada yada.

Over this relatively brief period, I have consistently been amazed at the tenacity, stubbornness, and knowledge of various highly active vaping advocates.  These fine folk, without exception respond to and thoroughly debunk a lot of misinformation being published in mainstream media.  They jump all over social media and make their opinions known, and they are utterly relentless in their passion to defend our right to choose a safer alternative to smoking.

I’m not going to list those advocates here as you probably already know who they are, and indeed what they do for this community.  But this isn’t a round-up type post, it’s a rant because I’ve been vaping for (almost) eight months now and in that short space of time, I’ve gone from being absolutely stunned at the size of the community.  I’ve gone through amazement at the sheer variety of people, devices and choices available.  Somehow, I managed to take a wrong turn into dismay at the sheer incompetence of several prominent figures within “Tobacco Control” and “Public Health” who continuously insist that vaping is “as bad as smoking” (which we know it damn well isn’t).

Bypassing anger entirely at the continuous anti-vaping sentiment from “Public Health” and, my personal favourite, the fucking public who categorically state that vaping is bad for you and we should just “give it up”.  (We could of course “grow a backbone” but that’s another story).

Being a vaper presents a myriad of challenges all linked to the “War on Tobacco” but that isn’t the real rub here.  My own personal disappointment is one of numbers.

On Facebook I’m a member of several vaping groups where we like to bounce around the “hand check” posts, ask and answer questions, and generally enjoy life as a vaper with other like minded vapers.  The total number of members in four groups alone, is TWELVE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED AND FORTY.  

That is just FOUR Facebook groups.  Granted, there is going to be some overlap where the same person is in several groups, but even then it is still a healthy enough figure.  Many of those people also have Twitter accounts (I certainly do) along with forum memberships (which I don’t).  I wonder exactly how many online groups (Facebook), forums and other social sites (such as Google+) there are, and how many users are in them.

A lot more the twelve thousand that is for damn sure.

This is where it gets absolutely insane.  One of these users is, to put it mildly, a freaking genius and is planning on approaching IEEE in an effort to introduce more consistent safety in the batteries and devices we use.  Last time I checked, the Go Fund Me had been active for 17 days and had only received less than a third of his requested total of £1,500.  Remember, this gentleman is going to be doing this entirely for our benefit and he has only received eight donations.  To say I’m stunned would be a total understatement of exactly how disappointed and outraged I actually am.

Facebook (groups I am a member of) – 12,440

A valid crowd funding page – 8

That is hugely disappointing, especially considering that its all completely voluntary from the person in question.  He doesn’t have to do it, he wants to do it because he wants to make vaping consistently safer.  If everyone in each of the groups I’m a member of donated a single pound to this he’d be able to do the stated work and a whole lot more.  Understandably, not everyone can donate but even if half of those groups donate…its mind boggling the number of vapers that just do not seem to care.

And it is spreading.  Totally Wicked are challenging Article 20 of the Tobacco Products Directive which, if passed, will effectively end vaping as we know it.  At last check, they had received support from only five thousand, one hundred and twenty six people.

Again, look at the numbers:

Facebook – 12,440

Article 20 Challenge – 5126

It is utterly disgraceful.  In the UK alone there is meant to be 3.1 MILLION vapers, so why in seven hells are only five thousand lending their support to Totally Wicked? Why out of the estimated 3.1 million UK vapers, did we only get thirty thousand signatures on the European Free Vaping Initiative?

Does the community actually care about vaping?

Based on my own observations, and those of the “super active” advocates the answer to that question is:

No

So why do I keep trying to fight?

As Tyrion Lannister says “I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples and bastards and broken things.”

*Update, I completely forgot to update this post earlier. The IEEE Go Fund me did get completed, courtesy of a discussion on VTTV and the support of the awesome peeps in chat, and at last count TW had close on 10K supporters.