Lib Dem Rebecca Taylor Calls For Ecigs To Be Banned in Public – Here’s Why She’s Wrong

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by: James Dunworth

Rebecca Taylor, Lib Democrat MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, although more open minded than some MEPs, has been calling for ecigs to be banned in public places.

E-cigarettes should not be marketed in a way that “renormalises” smoking or broadens their appeal to non-smokers, especially young people. This may require a minimum age of purchase, forbidding free samples or below cost pricing, a ban on certain flavours and restricting advertising near schools, TV adverts except late night, adverts in magazines/websites for young people and e-cigarette use in public places.

Source: LibDem Voice

1. Ban in Public Places

A group of vapers sitting around a table.

And end to vapefests? (Image by Jaded)

Firstly, I’m not sure what Rebecca means by a ban in public places.

Rebecca says:

Vaping indoors twitter quote 1

But then as David Atheron pointed out:

Twitter quote 2. But why ban them in public places at all?

Scientists say that there is no danger to non-smokers:

With respect to smokers, there is substantial and compelling scientific research documenting that consuming the ingredients in e-cigarettes (nicotine, propylene glycol, water and flavors) is vastly safer than burning tobacco and inhaling 3000+ toxic by-products.  Claiming that e-cigarettes are dangerous for non-smokers is about as credible as claiming that air travel is dangerous for people who never set foot in an airplane.

Source: Professor Brad Rodu

And there are several studies, such as this one, to back scientists’ opinions up.

2. Denormalisation

Anti smoking poster, reads “Kissing a smoker is just as gross.”

Rebecca also complains that electronic cigarettes could renormalise smoking.

A little bit of background – demormalisation is not a subplot from Orwell’s 1984, it’s a deliberate policy to to make us appear subnormal, presumably in an attempt to get us to quit.

As a result of denormalisation, the New Zealand government has refused to legalise e-cigarettes despite admitting that their risk level is extremely low, anti-smoking groups have come up with a series of personal attacks on smokers and smokers have experienced discrimination – and even been blocked from some jobs!

Denormalisation deliberately encourages discrimination against a section of the population who are engaged in a legal habit, and has been used as an excuse for bans on vaping in several countries. There’s little doubt that some smokers will die because of these bans.

I’ve not seen any evidence that denormalisation works, and when advertising guru Martin Lindstrom took MRI scans of smokers’ brains that the extreme adverts used to attack anti-smokers activated the part of the brain that craves nicotine. He concluded that:

…those same cigarette warning labels intended to curb smoking, reduce cancer and save lieves had instead become a killer marketing tool for the tobacco industry

In contrast, studies show that electronic cigarettes are more effective than NRT aids, surveys show that very, very few non-smokers are taking up e-cigarettes and Professor John Britton believes that if every smoker in the UK switched to e-cigarettes we could save 5 million deaths in people alive today.

That’s got to be better than denormalisation, hasn’t it?

3. Flavours

Eliquid flavours.

I’m a menthol user myself, and I fail to see how having a variety of flavours for vapers to enjoy is a bad thing. Having a variety of flavours makes vaping a more attractive alternative for smokers, and people should be free to enjoy their flavours in the way they want. Plus, when people have enjoyed vaping the many weird and wonderful flavours available, there’s even less reason to go back to tobacco cigarettes!

I am guessing that Rebecca’s reasoning behind banning flavours is that they could be more attractive to children, but surveys show far show there is no evidence of widespread adoption amongst children. Indeed, as Dr Adrian Payne pointed out in an interview with us:

I’m not aware of any evidence of adult non-smokers using either E-cigarettes …in any number as a gateway to smoking – if there were I’m sure we would have heard of it by now. Bad news travels fast!

Source: An Interview with Dr Adrian Payne

Banning flavours in e-cigarettes also suggests double standards, as nicorette market their fruit chill flavour with cartoon adverts.

4. Minimum age of Purchase

Under eighteen sign

I think most of us probably agree here, although most responsible retailers already adhere to a voluntary code of practice and mark their kits with a no under 18 label, while TV networks have strict regulations on how electronic cigarettes can be marketed. Still, there’s always the irresponsible retailers to think about, aren’t there?

Please don’t take this as a personal attack on the MEP. I’ve got no issue with banning advertising in children’s magazines, and of course e-cigarettes should not be sold or marketed to children. Rebecca has shown herself to be more open minded than Labour MEPs (although not as pro-vaping as conservative and UKIP MEPs), and has been willing to research and even debate the issues with vapers. Let’s hope she continues to do so!

Click here for a list of EU MEPs and their positions on vaping.

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32 Responses to “Lib Dem Rebecca Taylor Calls For Ecigs To Be Banned in Public – Here’s Why She’s Wrong”

  1. Sam Stone April 19, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    Wow!

    People drink and smoke themselves to death every day and now they want to ban something that is a relatively harmless replacement to the cigarette!

    I haven’t had a ‘real’ cigarette for over 400 days and I would really struggle if ecigs were banned.

    I understand some of the above points but in my opinion most of them are rubbish. Whilst I agree that children shouldn’t start vaping, they will still start drinking and who knows what else so even if a few children started vaping it wouldn’t really be the end of the world. Without ecigs many more children will still start smoking just because there’s still so many smokers out there.

    Like everything that gets banned, most people will still be able to get the products they need but at the risk of prosecution or inferior products which could then be harmful.

    This is not the way to go if the country want to stop people dying of lung cancer!

    • James Dunworth April 19, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

      Thanks for the comment, Sam. We do need to do everything we can to make sure children don’t start vaping, but so far it doesn’t seem like they are. Thinking back to when I was young, part of the attraction of smoking was the very fact it was dangerous and forbidden, and I suspect that is why there hasn’t been take up amongst youngsters. (Incidentally, Amsterdam has the lowest cannabis usage amongst teenagers – I suspect because smoking it is not such an act of rebellion there!)

  2. Sam Stone April 19, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    James,

    I agree, I’m sure that’s why I started when I was young!

    Just to clarify – whilst I obviously think it’s a bad thing for children to start vaping, I’m saying that if a child was to start something, it would be better to be vaping that smoking (or drinking or drugs etc.)

    But I have also read lots of articles about children not really interested in vaping.

    Maybe a compromise would be to only make disposables that look like cigarettes but non-disposables should not look like them at all.
    When I first started vaping I used an ecig which looked exactly like an ecig but very soon after I didn’t want it to look like a cigarette anymore as I didn’t want the vaping taste/experiance to remind me of smoking and the more that are out there which don’t look like cigarettes people might eventually stop comparing them.

    • George Glasser April 19, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

      Interestingly, Nicorette sell a tampon looking device that people walk around puffing.

      Personally, I know there’s a lot of knee jerk reactionaries out there like Rebecca Taylor, but when it comes down to it, I think their arguments will be seen as specious it they ever have to debate the point on national news programs.

      I think she’s probably taking money from the pharma companies and tobacco industry. If she didn’t have a vested interest, she would see the benefit of encouraging people to switch to vaping.

      She don’t really care about how many people die, she’s just lining her pockets – there’s very few politicians who really care what happens to their constitutents.

  3. Dawn Gray April 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

    After 16 months smoke free as a direct result of ecigs, I would be devastated if they were no longer legal to obtain. Are there any scientific studies on the use as a smoking cessation aide,an alternative to smoking or safety comparison to smoking being conducted in the US? It seems a shame that ecigs cannot be marketed as a smoking cessation product when so many have had positive results and on the flip side there are so many bad drugs approved by the FDA. My physician’s nurse was the one who suggested ecigs to me because there had been so many of their patients who had success using the product to quit smoking. There must be enough ecig product companies that could ban together and perform a scientific customer survey by a third party. To those who don’t smoke and who never have, the concept of ecigs is just an idea to toss around and seek to control.
    I do agree with controlling access to ecigs to those under 18 – that is just common sense, although with the number of children smoking today a physician controlled program to assist them to quit using ecigs might be worth it for their health.

    • Sam Stone April 19, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

      If there isn’t already a study on the use of ecigs as a cessation aide it shouldn’t be too hard to do.

      There are enough of us who have completely given up tobacco cigarettes by using ecigs.

      And as far as I am concerned I don’t care that I’ve replaced one addiction with another. Some people drink 10 cups of tea of coffe a day, some people drink 2 pints of beer each night, I choose to vape because that’s what I enjoy to do!

      • James April 19, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

        There are several studies -all of them have pointed to ecigs having a much greater success rate than NRT aids.

  4. Switchtoecig April 19, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

    maybe someone should send this MEP info on research. On Steve Vape’s site there’s a good list http://www.stevevape.com/top-10-studies-on-e-cigs-you-need-to-know-about/

  5. Paul Chawner April 19, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    Do the same people who want to ban Vaping in Public places,like for instance a pub or even a coffee shop.also ask the owners to take the Coffee machine outside as the ‘Steam’ and vapour may be detrimental to someones’s health

  6. olivier April 19, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    Hi, I’m French, excuse my english. In France we have a very known historical anti-tobacco crusader Pr Dautzenberg, who surprisingly became suddenly – probably because he is very linked with Big Pharma who sees the huge growth of e-cigs as a financial danger/competition with their gums and patches – a new anti-e-cigs crusader. At least he pleads in favor of a strong regulation of e-cigs commerce, and guess what, he is in favor of a regulated production and distribution by Big Pharma… And of course of a ban of use in all public places.
    He reluctantly admits thet e-cigs are less dangerous than tobacco and says himself, talking of secondary smoking, that the vapor of e-cigs stays 11 seconds in the ambient air, the smokes stays 15 mn. That’s a factor of 83; il we add that 3,000 to 4,000 substances in tobacco smoke are carcinogenic or dangerous, it’s easy to calculate that secondary e-cig vapor is potentially 80,000 times less dangerous than secondary smoke. At that count, walking along Oxford Street during peak hours would be equivalent to a pulmonary suicide…

  7. James April 19, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    Yes, and there are other studies into passive vaping which have found no risk. Although if you read some of the bigger studies into second hand smoke the risk of lung cancer at least seems to have been exaggerated, with many campaigners citing smaller studies which so not have a large enough sample to be reliable.

  8. Joao Pargana April 19, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    Does e-cig use ‘normalise’ tobbaco consumption ?? Really? I would think that it normalises… well… e-cig use! A safer alternative to tobbaco consumption! Come on, not even e-cig users believe that smoking is ‘cool’ anymore! If they did, they would not made the change in the first place, right?
    This is like saying that an ex-alchoolic is promoting alchool abuse, and ‘normalising’ heavy drinking… by drinking non-alchoolic beer! Where’s the sense of that??
    We’re not promoting smoking. Quite the contrary; by using e-cigs is public places, we are telling the world that we found an ALTERNATIVE to tobacco. And a SAFER one, too… by using e-cigs in public places, we are encouraging current smokers to take the plounge themselves. How can we do that if we are forced ho hide in corners? Smoking will in fact become more and more denormalised as more and more smokers make the change… in the long run, e-cig use helps DENORMALIZE smoking, not promote it… how is it that these boneheads cannot see it ??

  9. linda maddison April 19, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

    oh dear, something else that is bad for us ! i am on week 4 of vaping with no tobacco products at all and cannot believe how easy it has been after smoking for the best part of 45 years,
    i still “hide ” outside when visiting family as wouldn’t want the grandchildren to see me either smoking or vaping, but now i do not have to worry about smells lingering on clothes or breath when i go back inside, and knowing this is better for me takes away the guilt, even my gp who admitted she didn’t know much about e-cigs said it was worth a try to get me away from tobacco.

  10. Darren sunderland April 19, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

    Having seen the news today about the bomer’s in the USA and the war in the west and the possible nuclear attack I think they should get there priorities right. At the end of the day I site down with my beer and my vaper/e cig and think im glad iv seen the day out

  11. Rai April 20, 2013 at 12:11 am #

    I love the arguments that people use against vaping, all the while ignoring the basic science. :|

    I got grief once on a metro platform, when someone decided to take me to task for ‘smoking’ on the platform. I pointed out my bright red device, pointed to a vial of 0% nicotine vapor juice, waved at the security guard from the sheriff’s department–and smiled.

    Know your rights, know the law–and then be ludicrously polite about it, just to twist it a little.

    • James Dunworth April 20, 2013 at 10:57 am #

      Nicely said, Rai, although I think this particular issue is about what levels of restrictions we should have rather than where to ban ecigs altogether – to be fair Rebecca has already said she is sceptical about the EU ban on ecigs.

  12. Florin April 23, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    Well I totally agree e-cigarettes should be banned for minors, but if she’s proposing that, than why also worry about all the fruity flavors appealing to kids? Sweet or fruity alcoholic drinks are just as if not even more appealing to them, but no one is making a big deal out of it because of the age restrictions on alcohol. If you’re going to do the same for e-cigs, why pick on flavors? I’m a grown man, if I want to vape caramel or pina colada then I should be able to do that!

  13. olivier April 23, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    Ok, let’s go, I take the risk to appear as iconoclast : if we agree on the following e-cigarettes principles :
    - e-cigs do not drive the kids ans youngsters to tobacco (first of all, they are attracted by the forbidden, they don’t want to look like kids and youngsters, so they go to the REAL thing, tobacco. Secondly, if they dive into smoking, it’s much better that they change to e-cigs)
    - e-cigs are not dangerous for health
    Then why banning e-cigs for minors ????

  14. James Dunworth April 25, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

    I’m guessing the reasoning is that e-cigarettes could be a gateway to smoking. However, there’s simply no evidence that this is the case. In fact, in a recent survey of over two hundred 11-19 year olds, just two had tried e-cigarettes, and they were both existing smokers.

    As Dr Adrian Payne said:

    “I’m not aware of any evidence of adult non-smokers using either E-cigarettes …in any number as a gateway to smoking – if there were I’m sure we would have heard of it by now. Bad news travels fast!”

    http://www.ecigarettedirect.co.uk/interviews/adrian-payne-interview.html

  15. lizzie April 26, 2013 at 7:36 am #

    I think this MEP is so wrong. Smoking is still normal for many people, and the more people use e cigs in public, the more smokers will switch to them, so saving lives. E cigs are not a gateway to smoking, rather the other way round.
    Anyway if young people are going to start smoking wouldn’t it be better for them to use ecigs.

  16. James Dunworth April 26, 2013 at 8:04 am #

    “E cigs are not a gateway to smoking, rather the other way round.” I think that hits the nail on the head, Lizzie.

    “Anyway if young people are going to start smoking wouldn’t it be better for them to use ecigs.”

    That actually makes sense, although I fear that it would be used against the industry. However, there is no evidence this is the case. I think part of the motivation for starting smoking is the fact that it is dangerous and forbidden, and a safer alternative just doesn’t have the same attraction.

  17. Mick Walkden April 29, 2013 at 11:42 am #

    I propose a ban on Lib-Dems in public places.

  18. Jen April 29, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

    Another excellent page! I’ve read loads of reports by now on here, “for” and “agin” e-cigs. I’d hate to be without mine, now. They’re definitely better than smoking for me. No smell, lovely flavours, (currently enjoying strawberry!) I used to buy flavoured tobacco. Now I can do the same with my halo tank without the disgusting smell of baccy.

    I use the local train service. Always ask permission to vape and have never been rejected. The folks who work the station know they are legal, and let me use my ecig on the platform whilst waiting for the train home.

    • James Dunworth April 29, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

      I think it’s starting to help now that so many people know someone who uses one, or used to use one and now uses nothing!

  19. Janet April 29, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    Although I am a lib dem myself, I think Rebecca Taylor’s view about vaping in public places is ridiculous!

  20. Jim street May 1, 2013 at 4:48 am #

    Better than smoking tobacco. Saved 170 gbp in April ,feel a lot healthier pity MPs have nothing better to do. Kids will only try things that are forbidden to them so e cigs are not cool to them. Bout time businesses advertised if it’s ok to use e cigs particparticularly clubs,pubs.

    • James Dunworth May 1, 2013 at 7:33 am #

      That’s a good idea, Jim. I believe CAMVIP has produced posters which say if ecigarettes are allowed.

  21. lizzie May 1, 2013 at 8:33 am #

    Smoking may not be popular with non smokers, but i’m not so sure about e cigs. My non smoking daughters are absolutely delighted I’ve switched to e cigs. Without the support of non smokers, the smoking ban would not have been possible. They would not support a ban on e cigs if they don’t affect their health.

    It was seeing someone using an e cig at our local club, that persuaded me to try them. The more smokers that are exposed to them, the more likely they are to switch.

  22. James Dunworth May 1, 2013 at 8:38 am #

    It’s interesting you say that, Lizzie, because one thing in our favour is that more and more people know someone who have switched to ecigs or stopped completely because of ecigs – interestingly, when we met an MEP and an AM recently both their aides knew people who were using them.

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