The following article is a guest post from Mark. All opinions are solely those of the author.
Last week’s news that NHS Scotland is looking to ban the use of electronic cigarette on all of its premises in line with the smoking ban seems to have caught the eye of the mass media. In principle this would seem to be a negative development for the vaping industry although in reality, as many of you will already be aware, the ban on tobacco smoking on hospital premises has been nigh on impossible to police. Therefore, it does seem as though it will be difficult to police any similar ban on electronic cigarettes but does this send a message for the future?
Reacting before medical trial data
How ironic that NHS Scotland is looking to effectively introduce a ban on electronic cigarettes even before the results of long-term medical trials are released. The authority will be well aware that the trial data released to date has been very supportive of the industry with minimal in the way of negative conclusions. This therefore begs the question, why are the authorities looking to act over the use of electronic cigarettes before any evidence is in their possession?
It would be wrong to suggest this is only happening in the UK because we only need to look over the water to see the same scenario in America. Indeed the American situation has gone even further with a number of state authorities announcing their own electronic cigarette taxes. Again, all of this has occurred without the backup of factual research data into electronic cigarettes and any potential long-term health issues.
Prompting public anger
When you bear in mind there are in excess of 1 billion tobacco smokers around the world and but a fraction of electronic cigarette users, you might expect minimal backlash from the general public. Surprisingly, the relatively small, yet growing, band of vaping enthusiasts have been extremely vocal in their opinions and their anger at various bans and restrictions which do not yet appear to be backed up by cold hard facts.
There is a growing hope that as the general public becomes more aware of electronic cigarettes, and their potential benefits compared to their tobacco counterparts, politicians will eventually begin to listen. As we approach the UK general election, perhaps the vaping community should openly discuss and publish the opinions of their local MPs on the matter of electronic cigarettes?
The fight goes on
If you were to read the press you might be forgiven for assuming that the industry was going in reverse and struggling to push forward. The situation on the ground is very different with tens of millions of electronic cigarette users around the world and many more added on a daily basis. The mass media seem very much in favour of tobacco cigarettes with limited positive news reported about ecigs. Indeed we also have a number of medical institutions and medical figures slating the industry but unfortunately they are unable to back up their conclusions and their assumptions with cold hard medical trial data.
There are many reasons why millions of people continue to switch from tobacco cigarettes to electronic cigarettes and at the end of the day is this not a case for freedom of choice? That is before we even begin to look at the potential for saving lives by switching from tobacco cigarettes. Will the industry ever be able to overturn what many see as a bias in the wider media?