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Monday, 2 September 2013

Vapers are losing friends in our effort to save ourselves. Is there a solution?

How do us vapers protect our electronic cigarettes from being medicalised by the know-it-all Tobacco Control Industry?

I have blogged before about how uncomfortable I feel about trashing smokers in our desperate attempt to protect ourselves. We are making enemies for ourselves - enemies of people who were our friends. (read the responses)

My response which was actually longer than appears there, was to ask how we should protect vaping from intrusive legislation seeing it is is by all intents and purposes, the new kind of smoking. The only branch we can hang onto in the anti-smoking current carrying everything away from us, is that vaping is less harmful than smoking burning tobacco.

I am very uncomfortable when vapers try to rescue us by tramping on the heads of smokers and trashing the habit which was theirs too. I am sorry we are losing friends - good friends - through our behaviour.

I cannot see any way we can avoid our own drowning, and wish there was some solution.

In my survey our attitude to smoking and smoking are interesting. Only 10% of us felt we were smokers that vape. 75% feel they are ex-smokers. Only 6% are dual users.

26% feel smoking is "disgusting" and 48% - nearly half of us - feel smokers should change to vaping. A quarter of us feel we can't defend smoking anymore and a quarter (more or less) say they do. A small amount of vapers feel vapers and smokers cannot unite and a third feel we can.

I wish there was some way we could work together, we already - both smokers and vapers, have so many enemies. We are doing ourselves a disservice and I am sad we lost a friend.

I consider myself a smoker but I vape instead 281 26 9.25%
371 39 10.51%
408 43 10.54%
I am an ex-smoker that vapes 281 202 71.89%
371 280 75.47%
408 305 74.75%
I am a dual user. I vape and smoke 281 19 6.76%
371 19 5.12%
408 23 5.64%
I think smoking is a disgusting habit 281 65 23.13%
371 93 25.07%
408 108 26.47%
Smokers should change to vaping 281 126 44.84%
371 170 45.82%
408 194 47.55%
Smokers should smoke if they want to 281 85 30.25%
371 112 30.19%
408 120 29.41%
I cannot defend smoking anymore 281 63 22.42%
371 84 22.64%
408 96 23.53%
I still defend smokers 281 65 23.13%
371 88 23.72%
408 93 22.79%
Smokers and vapers cannot unite 281 14 4.98%
371 24 6.47%
408 27 6.62%
Smokers and vapers should unite 281 96 34.16%
371 119 32.08%
408 128 31.37%


  1. We have to fight within the arguments of our opponents, many of which are THR-related... so if we hold libertarian views towards smoking we often find ourselves advocating smoking cessation which may appear to be in opposition to those views.

    If I believe that e-cigs are a healthier method (than tobacco) of using nicotine recreationally then my empathy for fellow humans would dictate that I advocate that smokers make the switch, as I have done. Yet this doesn't make me anti-smoking as I would never seek to restrict tobacco... merely advise that a better alternative exists.

    I hope that we can work together and that we all bear in mind where we came from, what we did and what views we once had.

    Thanks for pointing this out so subtly :D

    1. Subtle? Ha ha.

      How would you work together - smokers and vapers?

    2. I already do.

      That's me.

      And yes I'm a member of something called The Smoker's Club and yes I vape.

      I didn't quit smoking because of health problems or because I was unahppy with smoking,I LOVED smoking,every thing about it. Every happy time in my life was spent smoking,

      But I didn't like paying the antz to persecute the people I loved.

      So I statred vaping and I fight for everyone's rights,your right to smoke,my right to vape.

      To me they are all the same.

  2. We tend to come together on issues of personal freedom and choice - and fighting puritanical ideology - but I'm not so sure that the issue of medicines regulations for e-cigs is of any specific concern to smokers.

    I agree with your point - that we vapers do not rip chunks out of smokers in attempting to secure our own vaping freedoms. This means that we tread sympathetically in our argument.

  3. Whenever there are potential disagreements it is always useful to try and agree the 'Common Ground'. I guess some of the 'Common Grounds' might : a)the desire for nicotine b) the Hand to Mouth habit c)hanging out with fellow users. Once 'Common Grounds' are established, it can be more pleasant to identify where there might be differences; which, by this time, won't seem so significant. The most important issues might be freedom of choice & promoting non-judgemental attitudes. xx

    1. Amen and thank God for people like you Jan xxx

    2. Common ground might be that we are not "users" - the language of antis to align us with heroin addicts. We are, actually and more accurately described as consumers of legitimate products of choice.

  4. Very telling article Liz, and I also wish there was a way to keep vaping without losing friends. The smokers I personally know, I've tried like _ _ _ _ to tolerate the smell and can not. Since vaping I now have a physical aversion to the smell and the smoke itself. I consider it a personal blessing, but when you look at the social psychology that you have spelled out, it could be an unraveling thread that might hurt us vapers, in the long run. If the _ _ _ _ing ANTZ would stop their attacks and the governments would only back off from controlling! Sadly the EU is a good example of governmental control taking charge, then and only then, I believe that smokers wouldn't turn against vapers and vaping the only positive hopeful miraculous way out of the impending doom, that most honest smokers sense is inevitable.

    1. There are many smells I cannot tolerate but sadly I have to put up with them so I can't understand why intolerant smokerphobics can't be as accommodating - especially if tobacco consumers are smoking somewhere they won't go - like their own homes and cars for example. I am an honest smoker and that means I am not ashamed nor scared nor hypocritical enough to say I don't enjoy smoking. I love it. I've done it almost a whole lifetime, I have no intention of ever quitting, and I have never hurt anyone else. There is nothing "miraculous" about ecigs. It is still smoking however you want to sanitise it and it's cheating to say smoking an e-cig is quitting. It isn't. It's just really changing brand.

    2. Pat, your argument fails the most basic "smell" test. Look at the lungs of any vaper vs smoker and your argument disappears. Water vapor and combusted tobacco smoke are completely different animals sharing only two traits: nicotine and delivery. Everything else is different.

    3. Most smokers' lungs are as pink and healthy as most non smokers', and are routinely used for transplants.

  5. When vapers are using tobacco control statements which have no foundation, such as this in a post by Simon Clark of FOREST, (no wonder you are losing friends.

    Here are two posts I put on this article.
    A travesty to put this, "They are no longer putting their own health at risk through passive smoking and most importantly, they no longer have to worry about their friend or family member dying prematurely" Disgraceful to use such emotive text, how low do these people have to sink. Next one.
    What I would like to know is which imbecile has written this nonsense, they obviously have no understanding of epidemiological studies, if these people want to be taken seriously they need to get their act together or they will be hit with the same lies as smokers are with SHS.
    Greg Burrows

  6. Liz, a good start to working together is for both smokers and vapers to insist on legislation to limit our activities only being justified if clear, highly consistent, inarguable, and significantly important harms to others can be shown in outdoor or well-ventilated indoor areas.

    The people attacking vapers right now are the SAME people who've been attacking smokers for the last 40 years. The methods and tools they're using are simply extensions of those used against smokers. For vapers to fight them effectively they need to understand and learn from the fights waged by the Free Choice activists in the smokers' movements around the world. Otherwise they will simply die while trying to "reinvent the wheel" as they are faced with highly sophisticated, experienced, and well-funded enemies.

    Just as activist smokers attack the lies about vaping when we run across them on news boards, so should activist vapers attack the lies about smoking (or, more specifically, those about secondhand smoke) when they see them. I know that those I'm most active with in groups like Forces, the Smokers Club, TICAP, etc are pretty much all very supportive of vapers nowadays because they see them as allies. Three years or so ago, when the main profile of vapers seemed to lie with those trying to market e-cigs by saying nasty things about smokers, the atmosphere was quite different.

    It's very understandable that people who had been trying to quit smoking for years and who were feeling badly about their failure to do so, would have absorbed a lot of the "self-hating smoker" syndrome along the way. It's not easy to get rid of that baggage, but if the vapers want to survive against the forces that are against them, they're going to need the knowledge, experience, and support of the smokers who've been fighting those people from decades.

    - MJM

  7. I've never visited VP before and I'm genuinely astonished at the responses to your survey. Are these people for real? Only a minority think smokers should smoke if they want to - this when just about every vaper was once a smoker. It is quite possible that vaping, as we know it, will be banned and vapers will go back to smoking or else be forced into buying the products on the black market.

  8. Real vapers yes