Freedom to Choose – as long as you don’t choose an electronic cigarette!

E Cigarettes are an “Object of Coercion” state pro-choice group

Last week I interviewed David Atherton from Freedom to Choose.

David Atherton was immensely likable, and I found myself agreeing with everything he had to say.

However, I find his organisation’s position on the electronic cigarette astounding.

Smoker’s Against Electronic Cigarettes

David told me that he personally had no problem with the electronic cigarette, but that Freedom to Choose opposed their usage.

Freedom to Choose later clarified their position, writing:

“They [the electronic cigarette] are a product of coercion, who would use them anywhere you could smoke? our policy is detailed on the website.”

E Cigarettes A Product of Coercion?

I must admit I do not fully understand this statement. I have requested a clarification (but have not yet received one) and searched for their policy, but not yet found it.

I can only imagine that they see it as an instrument (of anti-smoking groups? the government?) to persuade people to accept the smoking ban.

Of course, if everybody used them, Freedom to Choose might lose support for the ban to be revoked. But that is different from arguing they are a deliberate act of coercion!


Opposing the right to choose an alternative to smoking seems strange indeed given Freedom to Choose’s name.

Indeed, as David Atherton said in the interview:

“I think it is a personal choice, isn’t it?…I am really not here to dictate to people how they should live their lives.”

Which should be his organisation’s position – because for a group called Freedom to Choose to oppose the choice of using electronic cigarettes is a contradiction in terms.

Who would use them anywhere you could smoke?

Thirty thousand e-cigarette forum users, for a start!

There are a huge number of dedicated e-smokers who would prefer to use their electronic cigarette to using a real cigarette.

And with no tar, no toxins, no odour and costing a fraction of what traditional cigarettes do, that’s no surprise!

One could be forgiven for asking who would use cigarettes when you could use an electronic cigarette!


For all the anti-smoking movement’s exaggeration, there is little denying that cigarettes are dangerous, expensive and odorous.

Electronic cigarettes, which offer the nicotine without the combustion and toxins that make cigarettes dangerous, are the perfect alternative.

Perhaps a useful comparison is Communist Russia after the second world war. They felt threatened most not by capitalist America – their ideology predicted that capitalism would lead to its own demise – but by Britain, a country which combined socialism and capitalism in one system.

For the same reason, both the anti-smoking movement and Freedom to Choose appear to feel threatened by the electronic cigarette, a device which keeps the pleasure of smoking while removing its disadvantages.

Sticking Together

It’s perhaps ironic that this position came clear after Paul Bergen wrote on our website calling for unity, writing:

“If they are not already, vapers and smokers must stay united as individuals who happen to enjoy nicotine without it implying anything about them as people.”

If vaping threatens pro-choice smokers, it also gives them an opportunity.

For the first time, tens of thousands of people, stunned by the hypocrisy of a movement which, in return for massive funds, promotes nicotine cessation aids but attacks the electronic cigarettes which contain the same ingredients, are openly discussing the lies of the anti-smoking movement.

That’s why Freedom to Choose should abandon their Luddite position and openly engage with the e-smoking community.

9 thoughts on “Freedom to Choose – as long as you don’t choose an electronic cigarette!

  1. Blimey, that’s strange. I prefer to vape now, although I would smoke if I couldn’t.

    We really do have to stick close and look after each other, we’re all smokers after all … or at least we enjoy nicotine … or have similar habits, and we’re all under threat.

    I’ve heard vapers say that smoking should be banned and now here are smokers saying that vaping isn’t a proper option to smoking. We really need to look at the influences that are dividing us and causing us to make judgements about choices that shouldn’t be under threat in the first place.

  2. Seeing as you have to join that forum to see their official position (what are they so frightened of?) I am going to paste it here:

    NRT/ Alternate methods of delivery of nicotine. F2C’s policy

    Postby __-Steve-__ » Sat Jul 05, 2008 11:02 am
    The official position of F2C with regard to all alternate methods of delivery of nicotine is as follows;

    Freedom2Choose does not support alternate methods of delivery of nicotine (including e-cigs) due to the fact that they are being used as products of coercion to replace the real choices of consenting adults.

    Both ASH and The Royal College of Physicians have indicated a desire to force smokers onto such alternate methods of delivery of nicotine in order to remove all other choice entirely which is contrary to the values of Freedom2Choose.

    User avatar

  3. “They [the electronic cigarette] are a product of coercion, who would use them anywhere you could smoke? our policy is detailed on the website.”

    I can understand EXACTLY what this means.
    If smoking were not banned in so many social situations there would have not been the need for this e-cig. After all, smokers do not wish to suck on a piece of plastic and look like total idiots or addicts.
    I have joined the f2c forum (it’s no big deal joining, just submit your username and password etc.) and what they are saying makes total sense. It would be as if food were suddenly banned but a pill would satisfy hunger. The e-cig is just that, a substitute for the real thing that vapers will not admit to. They want a cigarette but are seen as lepers for actually smoking. So by using the e-cig they think that they are actually enjoying it when they are not.
    When alcohol is banned no doubt some other method of delivery will be available ( a vodka pill maybe) but that will be exactly the same as the e-cig. No enjoyment, but merely a substitute for the real thing that is less terrifying and less obnoxious to other people as actually smoking
    So coercion to me is exactly the correct word to use.
    I tried the plastic cig for a few weeks so that I could go in pubs, but it was pathetic and I could not convince myself that I enjoyed it one bit.
    So I stay indoors now to have a drink and to enjoy a real cigarette.

  4. “If smoking were not banned in so many social situations there would have not been the need for this e-cig. After all, smokers do not wish to suck on a piece of plastic and look like total idiots or addicts.”

    Thousands do enjoy it actually – many of our users say they prefer it to cigarettes. You need to get a decent one, though! The latest models are not very different from a cigarette.

    “So coercion to me is exactly the correct word to use.”

    So, your freedom to use cigarettes is reduced, so you oppose people’s freedom to use electronic cigarette? I don’t see the logic of that. Surely freedom to choose means freedom to choose to smoke, not to smoke or to use an alternative?

    And just who is doing the coercion. The tobacco companies hate us. The pharmaceutical companies hate us. The anti-smoking groups funded by the pharmaceutical groups hate us. We are a group of new businesses and users struggling against a regime which does not want an alternative to smoking – this is not some conspiracy to get all smokers to stop fighting for their rights!

  5. I smoked because I enjoyed it and because I’m addicted to nicotine.
    I started vaping because I knew I couldn’t go for hours without a cigarette on a long air flight. I stopped smoking and continued vaping because I prefer it, for many reasons.

    And very definitely, I believe people should have the freedom to make their own decisions, and see no reason why a ‘them’ versus ‘us’ attitude should exist at all.

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