I cannot think of a single issue we have had to deal with in the past where we were not responding to some action or statement by Tobacco Control, some industry or regulatory body. We always seem to be, ‘coming in’ after the event.

This is understandable because we are attempting to defend something which already exists. Indeed, we are, in reality, trying to defend something which has existed, in the minds of some, for hundreds of years, and has now been demonised for decades – smoking. That is correct, in the minds of some, we are defending smoking.

A study has only to be published: a newspaper has only to print; a city council has only to announce… and we respond. We respond to, gateway, toxins, we respond to, ‘as dangerous as smoking,’ public bans, children, flavours – the list is never ending – heart disease, pregnancy, cancer, lung damage…

And yet there is a solution: Something which is staring us right in the face.

It is this: We only need to be dealing with a single issue. There is a single element that can be identified within the huge list of topics that we presently have to cope with: It is something from which everything else is derived.

The treatment of vaping as smoking.

I did say it was obvious, however, putting things into practice might not be so easy.

For example, let us say the results of a study have been published, and just to add an element of humour, let us say that they are claiming support for hair loss as a result of vaping, indeed, let us add a touch imaginative irony and add that it is the work of a well-known Tobacco Control professor in California.

How do we respond?

Wrong! We do not!

So, what do we do?

All over the planet smoking bans are being initiated, and where they already exist, are being enforced. There is always something being published announcing an action treating vaping like smoking somewhere or other.

Find these and act on them: Leave the junk science and fake news to wallow in their own self-made cess pit, instead, complain about the injustices of regulations, or the proposals for such. Deal with the issues which are the supposed justifications for the regulation, the proposed regulations, or calls from some organisation or other for regulations. You will find that somewhere down your list of priorities more than enough room to mention, ‘hair loss.’

At present, we attack whatever comes our way. We respond to this, that and the other. We give it publicity and credence. We are all over the place. One second it is, ‘vaping causes heart attack,’ the next second it is, ‘vapour gets on kid’s hands,’ then it is, ‘hair loss,’ then, ‘toxins.’ then, ‘stroke,’ then, ‘gateway,’ ‘adults.’ ‘kids,’ and the ‘next door neighbour’s dog.’

Yes, we are all over the place: There is no longer – except perhaps in our own minds – a single common theme: Our message is being watered down and lost.

We need to attack everything, that is true, but we need to do so using a common platform.

To my mind, that platform is, ‘the treatment of vaping as smoking.’ This single message should be our jumping off point for every letter, every article, every conversation; the rest should simply follow as back up to that issue.

We are being manipulated by Tobacco Control.

We need to address this.

There is one message and one message only…

‘Vaping is not smoking.’

Just a word of caution: By defending Harm Reduction we must always include the caveat that smoking and smokers are not something to look down on; that smokers are somehow lesser beings. They are no different, are no less important and good members of society than anyone else is. Having said this, I can now reiterate…

Vaping is not smoking.


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