Like many Vapers out there, I read the many tweets that go around both in support and against eCigarettes. I also read the media articles, sometimes shaking my head in shock at the ignorance, other times getting a feeling of euphoria when I finally read something that tells the truth. But what really hits home is how vaping advocacy is finally coming together as one voice.
In June 2015, I will be celebrating my Vaping 3rd Anniversary. It will be a significant milestone and a measure of how eCigarettes empowered me to escape from the clutches of Big Tobacco.
When I first began my vaping journey, I knew of very few others who had discovered the freedom to vape, of the health benefits I was clearly gaining, and of course the pure enjoyment. I still remember the first time I vaped at the bar in my local pub. People were astonished at what they were seeing and I constantly found myself the centre of attention. Now it is extremely rare to find myself as the lone vaper in the bar. Almost every time I go out for a beer I see others enjoying a vape. When I walk down the street, I see people walking toward me with an eCigarette clutched in their hands.
In the early days, there was little resistance to vaping. In general, people did not know what they were, and those that did assumed that they were just another passing fad that would soon pass into the annuls of history.
When the first rumblings of disinformation and potential bans started appearing, the voices in support of Vaping as a valuable harm reduction tool were very few and far between. In fact, until I first encountered Vapour Trails TV (in what now seems like another age), I was also unaware of what was looming on the horizon. What I encountered were a handful of people prepared to stand up and be counted for vaping. They were what I would term the 'Lone Voices On The Wind'.
This was the way that Vaping advocacy evolved. As more people started discovering Vaping, the Lone Voices gradually became augmented, slowly becoming a gentle 'Choir'. A somewhat disjointed and not entirely harmonius Choir at first, it must be admitted. But a Choir of Vaping voices nevertheless. The momentum had begun. Eminent scientific professionals started coming onboard as the studies and research began to back up what we all knew. eCigs Save Lives.
Over the course of 2014, the voices began to be more refined and knowledgeable as they spoke out in an ever rising crescendo. Disparate 'Choirs' began to come together as one. Personally, I believe that the shenanigans in the European Parliament at the tail end of 2013 was the trigger-point. Others may have a differing view on that. But it is at that point that I started noticing the coming together of the 'Choirs'.
Throughout 2014, we saw various initiatives by differing 'public' bodies to try to undermine the threat they perceived in eCigarettes. National governments started initiating bans or began consultations to bring in potential bans. Other public bodies used more insidious tactics of disinformation in an attempt to derail the runaway success that was the eCigarette. But all these messages did were to add the 'harmonies' to growing 'Vaping Choir'. The Choir mobilised and became ever more integrated. The messages refined, back up by scientific evidence, and thus the 'Choirs' were now all singing from the same hymn sheet.
This infuriated the ANTZ as every argument they presented was critically disembowelled and thrown back at them. So they tried to undermine the 'Choir' by claiming they were being victimised/bullied (something they still try to claim). As their claims were clinically dismissed, they tried closing their ears to the Choir and moved their disinformation behind closed doors. Unfortunately for them, the Choir contains a numbers of resourceful members who quickly found ways around that tactic.
As we head into 2015, the Choir has refined to the point as to be 98% singing in tune with one another. The ANTZ meanwhile, are slowly sinking into an ever more disorganised rabble of individuals, even arguing amongst themselves.
So here we are in 2015. We have a well-oiled 'Choir' singing from the same songsheet and for the first time we are starting to see the benefits of that. We are beginning to win the war.
Let's hope that 2015 sees the Vaping Choir become 'world class' as the next round of battle commences.