This Sunday, May 30, vapers around the world will celebrate World Vape Day—a time for vapers, consumer advocacy organizations, and vaping businesses to celebrate the technology that has helped tens of millions become independent of cigarettes and combustible tobacco.
World Vape Day is also the perfect time to raise awareness among people who smoke about vaping and other low-risk nicotine alternatives to deadly cigarettes. Many vape shops and online businesses offer special deals for customers who may be considering a vape for the first time.
The World Vape Day website is run by the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations (INNCO)—an alliance of dozens of vaping and tobacco harm reduction (THR) organizations around the world. The site is packed with THR information, resources, testimonials from vapers and other nicotine users, a list of events vapers can take part in Sunday, and ways to participate. INNCO has been active organizing World Vape Day since last year’s event.
“May 30, World Vape Day, is a day of celebration for the 98 million people worldwide who have quit or reduced their use of toxic tobacco products by switching to safer nicotine alternatives,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, Executive Director of INNCO.
“These alternatives include nicotine vapes (“e-cigarettes”). People Who Use Safer Nicotine are healthy and strong, and our movement is growing. Our voices need to be heard, and the stigma needs to stop.”
The website will include a page with tips for social media engagement by vapers, since in-person events will be limited again in most places by the coronavirus pandemic. Those on Twitter will be posting messages using the hashtag #WVD21—and vapers will engage on Facebook, Instagram and the other various social media platforms.
Last year the event created billions of social media impressions, and the organizers hope that this year vapers will have even more impact, especially with positive messages for people around the world who smoke or use risky oral products, and vapers who face governments that restrict access to vapes.
Vaping and THR can save lives, but getting that powerful message past the negativity and propaganda that prevents so many from trying low-risk products can be a struggle. World Vape Day is a way to have fun while making an impact. Let’s make #WVD21 trend worldwide!
World Vape Day is held the day before World No Tobacco Day, the annual anti-smoking event created by the World Health Organization (WHO). In the days before that event, the WHO added to its already large repertoire of anti-vaping dogma by introducing a campaign to warn people who smoke that “switching from conventional tobacco products to e-cigarettes is not quitting.”
“We must be guided by science and evidence, not the marketing campaigns of the tobacco industry – the same industry that has engaged in decades of lies and deceit to sell products that have killed hundreds of millions of people”, said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a press release. “E-cigarettes generate toxic chemicals, which have been linked to harmful health effects such as cardiovascular disease & lung disorders.”
The WHO has used its power and influence to advocate for restrictions and bans on vaping around the world. But the agency has done particular damage in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where its Bloomberg Philanthropies-funded allies like Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and The Union have called for the outright prohibition of vaping products for the people who need them most desperately.
On World Vape Day, vapers in many countries—including India, Mexico, Singapore, Thailand, and most countries in Latin America—face outright bans on the products that prevent them from smoking. Many others continue vaping, but with restrictions on nicotine or flavors, or excessive taxes that put the cost of vapes out of reach for many.
These are the things that vaping advocates are working hard every day to change, even as we celebrate the technology’s existence and use by millions. Those of us lucky enough to live in countries where vaping products are available need to keep in mind that many of our friends don’t have access to products that should be a human right.
While we rightly celebrate vaping on Sunday, we must renew our determination to make it available around the world to anyone who wants it.