A reliable vape news source recently reported on a perspective piece that was highlighted by the New Nicotine Alliance regarding a vaper who recently visited London entitled, “An Outsider’s Experience of Vaping in London.” As the title states, the vaper focuses on his experiences in London for a 12 day visit. He prefaces his observations with the fact that the UK is largely recognized worldwide for their efforts on advocating for better health policies in regards to smoking to reduce tobacco related diseases and death by approving vaping as a healthier alternative.
He then proceeds to express his disappointment with the public perception of vaping and with the vaping restrictions in public and private social areas in London. In addition, he criticizes the PHE and British health authorities and states that they “..have not done enough to translate their policy statements into public perception.”
The vaper does offer some constructive advice as to the direction that should be taken in order to phase out stigmatization of vaping, as well as commends public health authorities in the UK for their “relaxed acceptance of vaping overall..” But, yet states disapproval again by saying, “...they should be doing far more to correct these poor perceptions by those who formulate policies on vaping in public spaces.”
Albeit, no one has the right to dismiss this particular individual’s experiences in London as a vaper. No one enjoys feeling socially shamed for taking part in something that has negative associations with smoking. However, one must consider that to re-socialize an entire population of people is not an easy feat. There are 8.136 million people currently living in London. Expecting policies to change immediately or an entire population to automatically accept something that is relatively a new phenomenon in the world is not realistic. Especially when there is a flooding of misinformation increasing the stigmatization of vaping & eliquids. And, that is exactly what the UK is vigorously fighting against.
As we know, change takes positivity, time and forward momentum. The UK is actively engaged in this to improve millions of lives in their communities by launching the first ever vaping awareness campaign this past April dubbed VApril with the help of Dr. Christian Jessen and the UK Vaping Industry Association. In October of 2017, the UK’s annual “Stoptober” campaign included ads showing vaping as a legitimate method to stop smoking as well. And, Public Health England is actively pursuing e-cigarettes to be prescribed by doctors to their patients who want or need to stop smoking.
There is increasing momentum in the journey for Tobacco Harm Reduction do to mostly people who volunteer their time to effect change such as the the New Nicotine Alliance UK. We can all be critical of how organizers are maneuvering through the social and political spheres, but our time may just be better spent continuing to promote vaping as a smoking cessation tool and ensure that people have access to correct and pertinent information. As people throughout the world continue to raise awareness with campaigns like VApril and Stoptober, there will be more positive change to enrich all future generations, and decrease tobacco related diseases and death. Everyone simply has to stay positive, work together and keep in mind that change does not happen overnight.