We asked Dave Dorn, NNA associate, VTTV team member and vaper extraordinaire to give his views on vaping and consumer advocacy. As always we were very far from disappointed!
Recently, VTTV ran an anniversary show. Four years from their first broadcast, Dave Kitson featured clips from the first two shows. What struck me, almost more than anything else, was that over 85% of the live audience for the anniversary show were smokers when the original broadcasts went out.
Indeed, the bulk of the live viewers had much less than two years experience of vaping.
In stark contrast, I’ll be hitting six years of exclusive vaping in May of this year - not that I consider that to be anything of an achievement. For me, it’s pretty much like saying I’ll have had six years of drinking Nescafe Gold Blend instead of Maxwell House - because that’s pretty much how it is. I never sought to quit smoking. It wasn’t on my radar. Like many, I was a dual user, but, within a couple of weeks, had moved exclusively to ecigs. Why?
Was it health-related? No. I didn’t give a monkey’s. I was a smoker and happy with it.
Was it cash related? No. There really wasn’t much of a visible saving at the time - ecigs were not cheap in 2009.
Was it to “get past the smoking ban”? Not entirely - I’d already “achieved” that - insofar as not smoking gets past the ban - in that I could use an ecig where I couldn’t smoke, but could still have smoked where the ban didn’t bite.
No, it was because I actually preferred ecigs over smoking lit tobacco. It, they, were “nicer”, for want of a better word.
And I’m pretty sure that there are some actors in Public Health for whom that paragraph above does nothing but strike terror into their hearts. I enjoy ecigs. All manner of ecigs. For me, the value proposition is great. There are many reasons why I enjoy what I do with ecigs, but the bottom line is that I have no health or financial motives for using them. I simply and honestly enjoy it.
I’m not arguing that there are no massive public health benefits to ecigs. Far from it. They are obvious to those who are prepared to see. And by massive, I mean massive. Mahoosive. Ginormous. Incredibly large. Indeed, were every adult in the UK to decide, one sunny day, to take up ecigs as their exclusive method of using nicotine, there would still be a massive population level downscaling of the incidence of COPD, Lung Cancer and their ilk. Don’t just take my word for it - do the maths, do the research - all the clues are there.
And this, dear reader, is the message that we, as vapers, need to get out there more visibly. Because 2015 needs to be the year of the vaping advocate. Not the shouty, loud and argumentative protester, but the calm, informed and implacable supporter of the science, the disseminator of information, and the corrector of the misapprehension.
We must not let the bastards grind us down. We need to engage with those who are badly informed. We need to remind those who misinform that their arguments are based in flawed methodology and incorrect assumptions. We need to assert the evidence and provide it where it is lacking. In short, we need to advocate, to support, and to inform.
So, everywhere you communicate, use the hashtag #Vaping2015 - become an advocate for ecigs, their use and their proliferation. Cling to the evidence, and disavow the dogma - ignore the ideology and promote rationality. For it is the science that will ultimately win over ideology, logic that will displace misinformation, and advocacy that will win over scaremongering.
2015 is the year of the advocate. Be one.