World Vape Day: Part 2

4 Mins read

Live progamming from the World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA) has drawn to a close.

It’s been great to hear from so many passionate speakers from across the globe, all united by a passion for vaping.

Be sure to pick up issue 34 of Vapouround Magazine for full event coverage.

Here are our highlights from the last two talks.

Why Is It Worth Going the Extra Mile for Vaping?

Twitter users will be familiar with these panellists.

It’s fair to say that they all go the extra mile in speaking out for vaping online, often coming up against sceptics and tobacco control absolutists on Twitter.

It can be gruelling to have to continually defend vaping, but all the panellists remain just as passionate as ever.

Topics discussed across the hour included the World Health Organization (WHO), The EU Commission SHEER report on e-cigarettes and, of course, flavour bans.

Yael Ossowski, Deputy Director, Consumer Choice Center

Yael spoke passionately about the role of vaping as a market-led disruptor of combustible tobacco.

He is concerned by the lack of nuance in the WHO’s approach to regulating e-cigarettes as tobacco products.

The health regulator also gives financial incentives to member states, which makes it less likely for low and middle-income countries to adopt pro-vaping regulations.

“I would say that their agenda, having been to two of these very dystopian and Orwellian events, has nothing to do with public health and has everything to do with the eradication of private enterprises that are solving many of these problems, whether it be, obesity, whether it be smoking, they are doing a better than international health bureaucrats.”

Michelle Minton, Senior fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute

US-based Michelle is ‘pretty pessimistic’ about the prospects for vape regulation under President Biden.

She believes that he doesn’t understand the category and his ‘old school drug warrior’ Vice President Kamala Harris is unlikely to push for a repeal of the current restrictions.

Michelle noted that youth vaping has declined over the past year, likely due to less social interaction among teens and an easing of the media panic and scaremongering that makes young people inclined to rebel.

“Unless there’s another fake EVALI outbreak kind of thing where e-cigarettes are getting blamed for something they didn’t do, I think we may see a little with the Biden administration focusing on other things and the news cycle focusing on, you know, the facts.”

Prof. Bernd Mayer, Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Graz, Austria

It was upsetting to hear how challenging it can be to work in public health and be pro-vaping.

Prof. Mayer assumed tobacco control would be all for a tobacco industry disruptor that benefits public health. However, that has not been his experience.

“[If I work in tobacco control and] I’m against smoking, I must be very happy that there’s a product, [where people] can still consume nicotine but you don’t [need to] smoke anymore, but instead of getting enthusiastic comments I get hostile replies, I was insulted by people.”

Christopher Snowdon, Head of Lifestyle Economics, Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA)

Chris never misses the chance to speak out against ‘nanny state’ politics, so the WHO and European Commission are right in his wheelhouse.

Like the rest of the panellists, he is concerned that regulations are getting more restrictive year on year. However, he has faith in the power of speaking to politicians and MEPs.

“I smoked for decades and then I gave up without even wanting to give up.

“There are literally millions of these stories, and politicians respond because politicians don’t [tend to have an] ideological view of this issue.

“They assume that public health policy is going to be pro-health and anti-smoking policy is going to be anti-smoking, and maybe they don’t understand a lot of the unintended consequences of clamping down on vaping.”

GrimmGreen, Consumer THR Advocate, Profesional Tobacco Control Critic

Vape advocate and YouTuber Nick shares Michelle’s concerns about vaping regulations in the months and years ahead.

However, he also believes that some flavoured products will make it through the FDA’s PMTA process.

“There are 6 million-plus PMTA applications going through the process right now. I think it’s inevitable that the FDA is going to have to approve a lot of vapour products, and I think that some of the vapour products that they approve are going to be flavoured vapour products, I don’t think that the FDA is going to get out of this without approving flavoured vaping products in the future.”

The Great Alexandro “Hazard” Lucian Show

Our final panel was chaired by Brazilian vape influencer Alexandro Lucian.

Joining Alexandro were tobacco control experts Michael Landl of the WVA, former Action on Smoking and Heath (ASH) chair, Clive Bates and Ethan Nadelmann, Founder and former Executive Director  (2000-17) of the Drug Policy Alliance.

The panellists are in no doubt that we are in the midst of a new drug war with the goal of eliminating nicotine.

Alexandro spoke about the massive influence of Bloomberg Philanthropies on the vaping narrative in his native Brazil.

Anti-vape campaign groups have used creative messaging to conflate vaping with smoking, never actually acknowledging the differences.

Ethan is disappointed in some of his former allies who supported cannabis legalisation but are now going after nicotine and tobacco products.

“I’m very upset that some of this effort in the US to demonise the vape products and to criminalise them is happening from the left liberal side of the political spectrum.

“People, politicians, elected officials who were my allies when it came to legalising marijuana, who are my allies for legalising needle exchange programmes and dealing with overdose fatalities, in for ending mass incarceration in America. [They’ve been] caught up in this hysteria.”

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