Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
14 October 2019

SNP conference just held an event about vaping, sponsored by a vape and tobacco company

“No one’s ever said vaping was completely safe, but neither was driving here this morning!”

By Media Mole

Hello from SNP conference, where your mole has been learning all about vaping at a hugely informative fringe event called “Where next for vaping in Scotland?”, sponsored by the lovely people at Logic Vapes and JTI (Japan Tobacco International).

“NHS Health Scotland recognises that vaping is less harmful than smoking,” said the event description in the conference guide. “What more should the Scottish government now do to realise the potential that vaping offers?” 

What indeed? Luckily, there to answer that question were two SNP MSPs, one “a key member of the Health and Sport Committee”, according to the chair, as well as some chaps from VPZ, a vape shop, and the Nicotine Alliance. 

Perhaps unfortunately for the event’s sponsors, neither MSP was entirely on-message: Emma Harper MSP pointed out that “we’re hearing from America that some people are losing their lives due to vaping”, while John Mason said he is worried that vaping might be “a gateway into traditional smoking”, particularly for children.

The panellist from VPZ professed dismay at the “disinformation” about vaping: “a bit like that about vaccination,” he said. The Nicotine Alliance chap, meanwhile, said he is pleased that his daughter vapes instead of smoking, before the chair hastily added that vapes are, indeed, banned for under-18s.   

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

One gentleman in the audience helpfully produced a report in the Telegraph about “the first death in Britain from vaping”, while another stood up to observe: “This is an industry to make money. You exist to make money.” 

Content from our partners
How do we secure the hybrid office?
How materials innovation can help achieve net zero and level-up the UK
Fantastic mental well-being strategies and where to find them

A number of vaping products were on offer at the back of the room, available in strawberry, menthol and berry (your mole could not partake, since they were only for over-18s who are current smokers, but it does give the organisers full marks for the delicious buffet lunch). 

The highlight however, was a comment from Doug Mutter, a director at VPZ:  “No one’s ever come out and said vaping is safe, 100 per cent, but neither was driving here this morning!”