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.
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.”
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!”