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Mountains out of molehills: UK tells vape stores not to sell to non-smokers

When the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) came out last week with a call-to-action for vape shops to stop selling their products to non-smokers, many in the UK vaping community began scratching their heads in disbelief.  Is this really a problem?

According to an undercover investigation by the RSPH, as many as 87 percent of vape shops are knowingly or unintentionally selling vaping products and electronic cigarettes to people who have never smoked a day in their life.

The story was picked up by the mainstream British press, and at least one pro-vaping political pundit is calling the bold move by the RSPH a bunch of bewildering balderdash.  Former Director General of Wales, Clive Bates, is expressing outrage over the announcement, calling it nothing more than an anti-vaping “cheap publicity stunt” meant to incur wrath against the British vaping community by the general, non-smoking public.

“Today the Royal Society of Public Health is pitching its ‘undercover investigation’ into vape shops selling stuff to adults who don’t smoke. Naturally, the primary purpose of this exercise has little to do with public health but is a publicity stunt for an ailing organisation in a declining field that offers ever less to the public or to health.”

But Bates isn’t stopping there.  He even wrote a scathing letter to the RSPH, which is also published on his website.  In the letter, he itemizes numerous reasons that selling to non-smokers is a non-issue.

UK vape stores and the ‘undercover investigation’

The RCPH issued a press release last week which details the results of its undercover investigation. According to the report, 9 out of 10 vape shops are guilty of selling to never-smokers.  Bates not only believes that this statement is downright inaccurate, but he thinks that it is also intentionally misleading.

What would the RSPH instruct vape shops to do otherwise?  Should they refuse to sell to never-smokers until they go down to the local convenience store, buy a carton of cigarettes, and begin chain-smoking non-stop for a week until they become addicted?

Bates also insists that “97% of vapers are smokers or ex-smokers.”  And he supports this claim with a link to the most recently published data released just last month by the UK Office of National Statistics entitled E-cigarette use in Great Britain.

Apparently, the United States is not the only vaping community that has to worry about intentionally misleading anti-vaping propaganda released and promoted by government-funded public health organizations.  Americans might have the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but Brits have to deal with the likes of the Royal Society of Public Health. 


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