Be seen...Be Heard
By Charles Sammut
The South Australian State government recently added to legislation a new law that will make it very difficult for South Australian smokers to pursue an opportunity to try vaping as a system of moving away from the harms of tobacco.
It’s not impossible for these laws to be taken up by other states or even at a Federal level.
So, there’s now been a massive push to shift the community awareness towards agitation and political action. We need to join in and take notice
This is not a new push…the push has been there for a while now. The message to assist in joining and supporting Australian advocacy groups has been around since I started vaping a year ago. I have no reason to doubt it hasn’t been there from the start.
The way Australian laws seem to create cognitive dissonance when compared to the government’s approach to vaping in the UK and New Zealand in particular. I don’t get the perplexing laws here in Australia. It just seems confusing.
It’s a fight. Probably not the fight I thought that will be needed. It’s been a fight a few have fought so far. Pushing and pleading with us and hitting the corridors of power. There are other fights too and what’s really needed now is for all of us vapers to do a little bit more. Our time is now and these groups need our support and figure out what else we can do as a vaping community.
AVATAR: An advocacy group from the perspective of the industry. Vendors and Distributors joining together. http://avatar.asn.au/
Legalise Vaping Australia: A grassroots, on the street, campaigners to raise awareness in the communities around the country. https://www.legalisevaping.com.au/
New Nicotine Alliance: A top-notch bunch of smart people focusing on public health and education advocacy. https://www.nnalliance.org.au/
ATHRA: A registers health promotion agency doing stuff. https://athra.org.au/
These mobs do a lot...probably a hell of a lot more than we know. Probably without pay too.
While it seems with this direction the South Australian government has gone, we’ve gone backwards, there’s a lot we can do as a community.
It goes without saying to pay these advocacy groups a visit. Sign up for regular updates and read up on the latest news and information. Know your stuff..why we vape...how does vaping work...what are the harms of tobacco. Learn what’s the proper response to some of the myths on vaping. If you are keen… help them with a bit of time or a donation.
Above all...just talk with people. Even the non-smokers. Tell your story...tell your GP too.
Be proud of the fact you vape and you are not ashamed to be doing something that may seem odd to a lot of people.
Admit to yourself and others that you are working on your nicotine addiction and there is a choice to do so while severely reducing the harm that comes tobacco smoking. Be proud of that too.
No one is going to ask you to wear a suit while vaping so that the image of vaping is improved but we do owe it ourselves and the industry to not come across as douche bags and inconsiderate vapers.
We are under scrutiny...not just as vapers but the vendors too and those unscrupulous dealers that cash in without the education and true support we expect and receive from the fairdinkum vendors.
And there’s the crux for me, in light of the new South Australian legislation...if those specialist vendors disappear the only place you are going to get vape gear are from places that have a tobacco license….i.e. a tobacconist or Coles. Are they going to offer you the right battery at reasonable prices? Will they have a range of options with expert specialist advice? No... they are not.
Just a little bit more is needed folks...we’re not fighting with the government here. We’re actually fighting with perceptions and fears. The fear that kids will be enticed with the novelty of vaping and the juice fruity flavours… there’s the perception that we’re taking illegal drugs in with our vapes...there’s the perception that we are doing more harm to ourselves than smoking… it goes on.
We can change these perceptions...we are normal everyday people trying to fix ourselves and doing something about it. We came from all walks of life, we’re young and old, male and female, rich and poor and with vaping, we are giving ourselves a chance to take responsibility to improve our health.
Let us keep that chance and let the decent vendors give us a venue and expertise to provide a service in products, education and safety. Let's preach the virtues of vaping in a constructive way. Share your insights with those….change peoples perceptions and win them over too. We need to get a groundswell happening and that’s also up to us.
Congrats...by vaping we’re being nudged into being advocates too.