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Why We Support the UKVIA's Truth Vs Fiction Vaping Campaign

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It’s a battle out there to separate vaping truth from fiction, but it must be won.

Trying to find the truth and reality in the vaping world is not always an easy task. There is much misinformation, an apparent lack of clarity and, in a large swathe of the population, general befuddlement about what e-cigarettes actually are and the benefits, or otherwise, of using them. It's no wonder everyone's so terribly confused. 

It's not altogether surprising, however, because vaping hasn't been around all that long and the rapidly growing industry is still incredibly new. It's going to take some time before the waters clear and people know exactly what vaping is and what the advantages of e-cigarettes, compared to tobacco ones, are. 

After all, it's only in the last few years that vaping in the UK has really taken off, with high-street vaping retailers popping up everywhere, online vape stores opening up and more and more people vaping on the streets and elsewhere in public. 

And, globally speaking, it's mainly the UK that's been at the forefront of scientific and medical research into vaping and its effects on the human body, and this has led our health authorities — chiefly the NHS but also Public Health England — as well as prestigious bodies like the Royal College of Physicians to declare that vaping has few risks to people's health compared to smoking and that smokers should switch to using e-cigarettes to get healthier. 

Vaping Hysteria in the USA

Elsewhere it's a far different story, and probably nowhere more so than across the pond in the United States. There, amid claims that teens were starting to vape en masse, state after state has been frenetically trying to ban the sale of flavoured e-liquids or attempting to outlaw vaping altogether — as all the while deadly cigarettes, which kill an estimated 480,000 people in the US each year, remain legal and on sale. 

The Trump government is now a large driving force in the move to ban e-liquids in the US, with the ebullient president declaring in September that "We can’t allow people to get sick. And we can’t have our kids be so affected." It, along with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is exploring ways to prevent youth from getting their hands on vapes and flavoured e-liquids by banning the sale of the latter entirely, and only leaving flavours like tobacco and perhaps also menthol.

This has had vapers up in arms, with many thousands of them complaining to the FDA during an open and online consultation period that it was e-liquid flavours that were keeping them vaping and preventing them from returning to smoking again. Many said they didn’t much like the taste of tobacco but loved all the many flavours they get from their vapes, especially the many fruity flavours, such as strawberry, coconut, mango and more, as well as more zany ones like lemonade, peanut butter and even blue cheese. 

Then, in recent months, came a number of tragic deaths and illnesses in the US that were apparently relating to vaping ordinary e-cigarettes, and it seemed like that was it for vaping in the US — that the end of e-cigarettes was near. Until that is, it was discovered that people had been buying and using illicit and unregulated vape cartridges containing THC — the ingredient in cannabis that gives you the high — that were cut with a thinning agent identified as Vitamin E Acetate, an oily substance. When vaped, this combination can come with devastating results. 

"THC is present in most of the samples tested by FDA to date, and most patients report a history of using THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products," said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The federal agency has warned people not to buy "any type of e-cigarette, or vaping, products, particularly those containing THC from informal sources like friends, or family, or in-person or online dealers" — or to modify vapes purchased from reputable vape shops or add anything to e-liquid they buy from them. The message is clear: don't mess with your vapes and buy from an established retail outlet.  

Calmer Vaping Heads in the UK

Vape pod in male hand or pod mod with changeable cartridges close up - newest generation of vaping products.

The British vaping industry became alarmed over what was happening in the US in the latter part of this year — not just the attempts to ban vaping or e-liquid flavours but also the THC-vaping deaths and politicians' and the media's reaction to it, which was bordering on hysteria, if not going beyond it, and potentially scaring ordinary people off of vapes. These are mainly people who managed to stop smoking by vaping instead, and the fear was that they might now give up their vapes and return to unhealthy smoking.

The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) had had enough and decided to do something about it so that people would not look at the media scare stories about what was happening in the US and stop vaping and start smoking again. The association, which represents vaping manufacturers, distributors and retailers in the UK, launched a "Facts Not Fiction" campaign in October that sought to present the truth about vaping to the public and not the panic-driven fiction that can sometimes accompany vaping-related stories. 

The association took out full-page ads in national newspapers and based its message on research into vaping by UK health authorities. "The UK Vaping Industry Association committed to the campaign after misinformation and scare-stories threatened to push British vapers back to cigarettes," it said. "Public Health England advises that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking and a valuable tool for smoking cessation."

The campaign "reassures the UK’s 3.6m vapers that British vaping standards are robust, and products are highly regulated. Cases of illnesses in the US, which have been linked to black market batches of THC, are therefore not being seen here."

We Support the Facts Not Fiction Campaign

Apart from being a business, we at Electric Tobacconist are foremost concerned about people's health. We know all too well the problems that smoking causes to people and their family and friends — leading to around 78,000 deaths across the UK each year — and how incredibly hard it is to give up. As the NHS says during its annual Stoptober campaign, e-cigarettes are one of the most effective ways to get off tobacco cigarettes and stay off them. 

It would indeed be a tragedy if smokers who managed to quit by using vapes returned to smoking because of misinformed media and their vaping scare stories. This is why we robustly support the UKVIA's Facts Not Fiction campaign for the benefit of UK public health. 

And as the association's spokesperson, John Dunne, said, it is a truth-based battle that must be won to save countless lives. 

"It may seem like a bold move, but we believe that the stakes are high enough to justify it. Vaping represents one of the most vital harm-reduction opportunities for public health in decades," he said. "The UKVIA is determined to protect that potential, as well as [protect] the vapers who have already made the life-changing switch from cigarettes. To do this, the British public needs facts not fiction, and this is exactly what our campaign delivers."

If you're a smoker and you want to quit, you can try one of our popular vape kits and see if you can get off tobacco for good. Our online vape store has top-quality products and all the best vaping brands — some with free e-liquid and delivery on all orders over £10.