Vapour Products Association calls for Vapers to Unite for a smoke free SA
Kabir Kaleechurn of the Vapour Products Association (VPA) will address a gathering of 53 local vaping vendors and enthusiasts at this year’s Cape Vape Festival to be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 25 March 2017.
The VPA is committed to providing consumers with smoke-free alternatives to traditional cigarettes by, “working with government to ensure that our industry is transparent and well-regulated, and that consumers have access to all available information about vapour products as we work towards a smoke-free South Africa,” says Kaleechurn.
Key to our messaging is that, “the use of vapour products offers an excellent alternative to traditional cigarettes, free from the harmful chemicals associated with cigarette smoke,” says Kaleechurn.
It is time for the Vaping community to unite. The Vapour products association aims to group the Vaping Industry under one roof. This will ensure we disseminate the information to vapers and the authorities, that are accurate and recognised internationally.
Since smokers have a one out of two chance of dying from a smoking related disease, vaping provides smokers a ‘get out of jail free ticket’ – by offering a real route out of tobacco smoking, as evidenced by millions of vapers around the world. As Clive Bates of Counterfactual and former Director of Action on Smoking and Health UK argued during an expert panel convened by the VPA earlier this year, the Royal College of Physicians in the UK has reached consensus that vaping is 95% safer than smoking.
This is important as, given public confusion around vaping, there is a clear and urgent need to provide smokers, media and physicians with the right tools. Smokers and legislators should not squander the opportunity to save lives – or forego the chance to reduce the burden of smoking-related diseases on national health budgets.
Smoking is an acknowledged health problem in South Africa with complex negative influences on HIV, tuberculosis and pneumonia. Smoking has profound implications for the country’s health profile along with the affordability of health. The country urgently requires a competitive, less harmful, alternative to tobacco smoking. Quitting tobacco smoking entirely provided a solution that was 100% safe. Since cold quitting is not possible for most smokers, “South African legislators should not deny the country’s smokers an alternative that peer reviewed international studies have shown are more effective than existing nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs),” argued Kaleechurn.
As such, VPA urged South African legislators to maximise the disruptive potential of vaping by developing legislation aimed at facilitating the vaping experience and ensuring –accessibility to existing smokers.
Also, since vaping did not pose a passive smoking risk, legislators should resist the temptation to apply passive tobacco smoking legislation to vaping.
While there is consensus that vaping should not target children or non-smokers, “guidelines should not prevent vaping from becoming effective alternative to the smoking of tobacco cigarettes,” explained Kaleechurn. Legislation should not be so onerous that it limited the availability or increased the cost of vaping products. This would, detract from the effectiveness of vaping products as affordable and accessible alternatives to the smoking of tobacco cigarettes.
While South African legislators are yet to engage with the full spectrum of positions as well as the existing science concerning vaping, it is important that the South African public are made aware of the huge opportunity that vaping offers smokers to embrace healthier lifestyles. It is equally important that South African legislators adopt a pragmatic approach to vaping. Such an approach should not limit the efficacy of vaping as a healthier alternative to smoking or discount, “the potential to save lives and dramatically reduce the burden of smoking-related diseases on South Africa’s national health system,” concluded Kaleechurn.