My second small tale – tail actually as it involves my local dog walking group. We were out one morning and I noticed one of our number smoking. Now since getting involved in this world I have become a bit of a champion for e-cigarettes. ‘Oh’ I said, ‘Have you tried e-cigarettes?’ ‘I have thought about it but never got round to it’ she said. There then followed a quick run down from me of the benefits and next time I saw her she was vaping away. I don’t know if she will be a permanent convert, but it was a small victory.
Which led me to think that:
- There is a public out there prepared to be educated about vaping and in the process turn the leper-like attitude to smokers into a rather more benign image of the sweet smelling vaper. This has been at the heart of some anti-smoking campaigns in the UK aimed at young people – that as a smoker you smell horrible and nobody will want to kiss you. So thumbs down at attempts to ban flavoured nicotine. There is enough stigmatisation and marginalisation in the world. Why add vapers to the list of ‘others’?
- The fact that e-cigarettes are freely available in the UK, gave me the chance for a very localised harm reduction intervention which would have been impossible elsewhere. If the whole e-cigarette phenomenon was a consumer-led bottom up process, there is also a role for ‘guerrilla’ public health so long as the tobacco control lobby wake up and smell the bubble gum.
So that’s it from me until hopefully we all meet in Warsaw.