If you’ve been following goings on at Westminster, you’ll have not doubt spotted the Science and Technology Committee discussing ecigs. And we got a name check from an unlikely source.
On Wednesday 9th May, the Science and Technology Committee invited representatives from the IBVTA, UKVIA and New Nicotine Alliance to discuss their concerns over future regulation, advertising and more. At the same time, written evidence was received from a little family-company you might have heard of – Johnson & Johnson.
We were surprised and delighted to receive a shout out from this pharmaceutical mega-corp, as they took umbridge at our support for the recent VApril campaign which ran nationwide throughout April.
If you didn’t catch it, the campaign was organised by the UKVIA, and supported by dozens of vape companies across the UK, with one aim – to promote vaping as a healthier alternative to smoking (an assertion supported by no less than Public Health England, the Royal College of Physicians and more). Even TV’s Dr Christian Jessen put his name to the campaign, in an effort to encourage smokers to make a positive choice to switch to vaping.
Now, what Johnson & Johnson appear to have taken issue with our decision to also offer specially created bundles to make it as easy as possible for smokers to make the switch, something which is entirely in line with the whole idea of such a campaign – how can smokers be expected to switch, if there is no product available for them to actually purchase? They contend that such positioning goes against the existing advertising restrictions surrounding ecigs (something which the Science and Technology Committee is tasked with reviewing).
But, our response to that is simply that we are committed to helping smokers make the switch to vaping. We have been since we were founded in 2010, and we will continue to be in future. Campaigns, such as VApril, Stoptober and National No Smoking Day are fantastic for public awareness, but they only run for certain periods of time. Our commitment is permanent.
If you’re unaware of Johnson & Johnson, you’re likely to have used one of their products at some point. From shampoo to mouthwash, from allergy relief to, shock, nicotine patches, spray and gum, they generate in excess of $75billion per year and employ over 130,000 people worldwide.
We’re sure that their evidence submission was purely civic-minded and calling out a small Scottish company with a fraction of their power and influence was an unintended consequence, but we thought it was best we set them straight. After all, as their company credo says, they are committed to encouraging better health and education, so hopefully they’ll reassess their opposition to informing consumers about vaping in future.
And if any of Johnson & Johnson’s 130,000+ employees are after a truly effective, healthier alternative to smoking, just give us a shout. We’ll be happy to help.