2014, a year to remember.
Here are just a few of the things that happened:
We wrote hundreds of letters. At times it felt as if we were writing letters almost every day, but I know that’s not strictly true. We did though write copious letters to the press each and every time we saw an article that was misinforming the public re e-cigarettes. As the year progressed it was encouraging to see these letters being published, with some even being turned into articles! It does seem to have helped, as it is now gratifying to see the reporting of battery issues changing to be reported as the wrong charger/battery etc. instead of the screaming ‘e-cig explodes!’ headlines.
Fighting vaping bans
We saw plenty of e-cig bans creep in over the year, the Commonwealth Games being one of the more prominent ones. We fought hard to prevent any that we saw. The Welsh Government is still very keen to impose a vaping ban in public places. We have been writing letters, sending briefings, speaking with the media, having articles published in the press, organising petitions, and meeting with as many Assembly Members that will see us. The highlight of our campaign against this proposed ban had to be the delivery of our petition to the Welsh Assembly Petitions Committee. It was great to see so many Assembly Members turn out to either support us or to simply hear our arguments. Next week we will meet with senior officials at the Welsh Department of Health. These meetings are changing minds and winning us fresh support. We would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to the team of Welsh vapers who have collected petition signatures and attended meetings with AMs. Thank you for all you have done!
In 2015 we will continue the fight against vaping bans and are already very busy in Scotland!
Politician of the week
We started a politician of the week to highlight those politicians that have come out in support of vaping/vapers, and to say thank you to them. We had several politicians write blog posts for us, and we were very thankful to Martin Callanan for all his efforts and information during the last weeks of the TPD, when it all changed rather drastically and we saw Trilogue discussions taking place behind closed doors, split and separate votes and the commission getting what they wanted, not what the MEPs voted through.
In the European elections in May a number of our strongest supporters in the European Parliament either stood down or lost their seats. We were particularly sorry to see Chris Davies and Martin Callanan lose their seats. However, Martin was recently ennobled and now sits in the House of Lords as Lord Callanan of Low Fell. Already he is standing up for vapers and vaping in Westminster and was the main speaker at the recent launch of the e-cigarette APPG.
2014 also saw crazy crazy news reporting confusing the hell out of most of us, and, the sad result is that now many people believe the scare stories about e-cigarettes. But, we will continue to inform and educate and can only hope that 2015 will see a wind change as the facts now far outweigh the fear.
There were guest posts from Scientists, from commentators, MPs, interviews with advocates and Industry, we tried to keep a broad stance and garner all opinions and views. We were lucky enough to go to Warsaw and see first hand the incredible work that is being done by many passionate advocates of e-cigarettes, and it was a breath of fresh air to be there, among people that understand e-cigarettes and how they change lives for the better.
The WHO report was a low point, and I could write reams about the funding of that organisation, the failures they have incurred, but I won’t. Instead I will just say that the truth will out, and then the WHO will have to change its stance. They did a lot of damage, but we are very grateful to the scientists and advocates that wrote letters and published their opposition to the WHO in the press.
Faculty of Public Health
Another low point was the Faculty of Public Health’s shenanigans on twitter. That was very disturbing to see, and yet more disturbing the whitewash of an apology and then Public Health trying to state they were the victims!
I can certainly say that working for Save e–cigs has been a huge eye opener and sometimes what we see is not that pleasant.
Totally Wicked Legal Challenge.
A higher point was the Totally Wicked court case. They have been granted permission by the UK court to challenge article 20 of the TPD. They will have their day in the EU Courts of Justice later on this year – and I know we all wish them the best of luck.
And what of the year to come?
Already more letters and more briefings have been written and sent. We will continue to lobby for the proposed vaping ban in Wales to be dropped, we will be working with vapers on Scotland as they now face the same the hurdles as Wales, and we will keep on keeping on.
But wouldn’t it be lovely – as a new years wish – that Save e-cigs won’t be needed by the end of the year because the regulators will have a road to Damascus realisation that e-cigarettes are a force for the better, regulate them as such, and then we can all get back to living our lives, vaping, relaxing and not worrying that our e-cigs are going to be taken from us!
That’s certainly my wish for 2015. Happy New Year everyone.