With VApril kicking off in the UK, some members of parliament are asking their peers to start being more “vape friendly”
The United Kingdom has long been the face of how to properly utilize vaping as a smoking cessation and harm reduction tool. From Public Health England’s 2015 report finding that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking, to just this past year when they included vaping as part of their annual “Stoptober” smoking cessation campaign, they’ve always been at the forefront of change. They’re once again leading the way in the fight for vaping rights, as the UK Vaping Industry Association launched their very own vaping awareness campaign, dubbed VApril. This nationwide effort to educate smokers about the benefits of switching to vaping is one of the first major vaping-only smoking cessation campaigns.
Along with the launch of this latest push for vaping advocacy, several members of Parliament, alongside members of the House of Lords held a press conference outside of the Houses of Parliament, aiming to gain more attention and understanding of what VApril is trying to accomplish. Their goal is to help support and develop the estimated one billion dollar industry by getting more government officials to join the cause.
The group of MPs was led by Mark Pawsey, who’s the MP for Rugby as well as being the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for E-Cigarettes. The group gathered last week in front of the Houses of Parliament looking to facilitate more awareness and understanding of the often misunderstood devices. “Vaping is now recognized as one of the best ways to quit smoking and therefore presents a major opportunity to make a significant and positive impact on the public health of the nation. Yet only one in 10 people understand the relatively minor risk of vaping compared to smoking.”
He went on to question why vapers were treated the same as smokers when so much evidence shows that vaping is much less dangerous. Their ultimate goal seemed to be to encourage Parliament to become more “vape friendly” by moving toward allowing vaping in areas where smoking has been banned. They feel that not only will this increase the chances that smokers try to make the switch, but it’ll also set an excellent example for private businesses and organizations if Parliament allows vaping to be treated separately from smoking.
The VApril campaign, which is being held for the first time this year, is making a push toward further acceptance and understanding of vaping among the general public, but especially smokers. The face of the campaign is none other than popular TV physician, Dr. Christian Jessen. He believes that it’s a shame so many smokers have never given vaping a chance since it could prove to be a significant factor in getting thousands of more smokers to quit every year.
While discussing the potential of the new smoking cessation campaign, Dr. Jessen said “VApril is all about helping more smokers to make a successful and permanent switch over. I personally believe vaping has an overwhelming potential to help smokers break their habit, and this is important because stopping the habit is the single most significant step that people can make to improve their health.” To reach their goals, Dr. Jessen and the UKVIA are calling on smokers across the country to “take the VApril challenge.” This includes small classes at vape shops around the nation aimed at teaching about the benefits of making a switch and all the different equipment available. They’ve even released a guide called Vaping to Break the Smoking Habit to go along with the lessons.
It’s good to see the UK once again be at the forefront of not only vaping awareness campaigns but also pushes to normalize e-cigarettes among the public. After all, recent polls have shown that only a tiny portion of the population understands that vaping is much safer. In fact, a survey by Action on Smoking and Health found that only 13% of people thought vaping was much safer than smoking, while over 26% said they believed e-cigarettes were just as, if not more, dangerous. This poor public perception simply must improve if we’re ever going to get rid of smoking once and for all. So hopefully the success of VApril and advocacy from Mark Pawsey will be enough to convince more of the government that vaping should be treated separately from smoking. This could potentially shift the debate not only in the UK but across the globe.
Do you think awareness campaigns like VApril are helpful in gaining more vaping rights? Do you believe it is essential for Parliament to accept vaping in order for the general public to get on board? How can we improve the poor public perception of the benefits of vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.