Author: Christopher Monchgesang Date Posted:2 September 2016
What is vaping?
In simple lay terms vaping is the electric vaporisation and/or atomisation of a liquid for the express purposes of inhalation. These e-liquids, otherwise known as juices, often contain a flavouring suspended in a carrying liquid comprised of Vegetable Glycerin and/or Propylene Glycol. Some juices in Australia may also contain consumer added nicotine.
Why people vape!
Vaping is often used as a substitution and/or sublimation tool for people trying to stop smoking. For some people quitting smoking was never an option until they discovered vaping. That lack of option is one of the reasons we advocate for vaping and is realm in which very little academic / peer reviewed research has been undertaken.
In practice vaping is about harm minimisation. It is not necessarily about removing risk entirely it is more about reducing risk as much as possible. I would also ask that you pay attention to that word sublimation because it is important in describing why vaping is theoretically better as a quit aid than traditional Nicotine Replacement Therapies. In another post I’ll explain the difference between substitution and sublimation.
What is advocacy?
Advocacy is using our ability as individuals or as a collective to influence decisions. For the vaping community advocacy is ultimately directed at the law-makers (legislature). These law-makers include local, State and Federal parliaments. In simple language advocacy ranges from soft to hard. I’ve popped down a few examples below.
Soft Advocacy; Writing a letter to your local member of parliament
Hard Advocacy; Developing and writing a research article / paper
Soft Advocacy; Holding a rally in support of vaping
Hard Advocacy; Lobbying your case to a Government committee
Not Advocacy; F#$k you, don’t take my vape (this may feel good, but most neutral observers will basically say ‘tut tut, stop acting like a child’)
When we combine vaping and advocacy the natural outcome is pretty self-explanatory.
We as individuals and/or as a collective group are trying to influence government decisions around the legislation (laws) regarding the use of vaporisers, e-liquids and vaping peripherals.
This is achieved by getting people on our side through reasoned argument, evidence and research. We aren’t only talking about trying to get politicians on side either. Your family members and friends are the greatest available resource we have. They know your quit story, and one would assume would only be to happy to lend their names to the cause. While you may be one vaper your personal sphere of influence is as important as the community sphere of influence.
Supporting Advocacy Efforts
Advocacy is also achieved by resourcing and supporting the professional and semi-professional organisations and advocacy groups set up to protect your right to vape.
The New Nicotine Alliance Australia is the most professional and well organised advocacy group currently active in Australia. You can become a NNA(Aus) member by clicking here, like their facebook here and make a donation if you can. If everyone in Aussie Cloud Chasers, for example, donated a week’s worth of money they’d saved ditching the stinkies, the NNA could potentially employ a permanent researcher. Remember folks we are up against some hard hitting peak bodies who have quite a bit of money to spend on ensuring vaping becomes extinct.
There is also an active community group on Facebook called Vapers vs Policy where calls to action, local member email addresses and other community oriented soft advocacy approaches are shared. You can join the group here or by searching for Vapers vs Policy on Facebook.
Advocacy Is You
We need everyone on board. How you choose to lend your support to Vaping Advocacy is up to you, but everyone who vapes needs to make a small effort. Just stating ‘Don’t take my vape’ or calling a politician names will not achieve the goal of making vaping products more readily and legally available in Australia. Vaping isn’t only about those of us who currently vape and no longer smoke, it’s about all of those people who have not yet found vaping as a viable and potentially safer alternative to combustion carcinogens.