A series of “grassroots” campaigns telling UK e-cigarette users they are under attack and urging them to “stand up for their rights” by opposing new vaping regulations are being run by secretive lobby groups with links to Big Tobacco.
The campaigns – pushed to millions of Facebook and Twitter users in the past few weeks – have names such as #BackVapingSaveLives and Save My Vape, and are styled to look like they are coordinated by members of the public. But in reality they are run and promoted by rightwing thinktanks and lobbyists that oppose stricter regulation and want to influence government policy.
They include a movement called We Vape UK, which claims to be run by an “independent” organisation “for vapers by vapers”, but was set up by a fellow at the Adam Smith Institute, a free market lobby group that does not disclose its funders and has long-running ties to the tobacco industry.
They’ve not quite understood what a Fellow of the ASI is. It is, more than anything else, a “Hey, that’s a good lad over there” sort of thing. It most certainly does not imply any sort of financial relationship. (Just for the avoidance of doubt, my position as Senior Fellow, aka “very good lad” is unpaid as well).
And, of course, there’s then the issue of vaping itself. It’s a substitute for smoking baccy, not a complement to it. So, pushing vaping saves lives which is a pretty good thing to be doing.
It’s only right at the bottom that we get this:
Evidence shows vaping is safer than cigarettes and most policymakers agree that adult smokers should be encouraged to switch.
So everyone is accused of being evil because they’re doing the work of the angels.