It’s a bittersweet end to a long and beautiful trip around Europe to make our message heard by policymakers and people.
The #BackVapingBeatSmoking bus tour ended in Brussels two weeks ago, with some amazing projections on the European Parliament. I’ve had a great time on the road, and I’m confident that we were able to change some minds and enlighten some people.
The first part of the tour brought us from Spain, Italy, France to Germany and we fought for our right to vape and also had some fun. Here is a recap of the best parts of the first part of this journey.
So, we took a small break and we were back on the road. We started off our second leg of the tour in beautiful Torino, Italy. There, we met so many passionate Italian vapers, many of whom contacted their politicians, raised their voices on social media and told us on camera about their vaping stories.
Tip: Even though it is hard to admit as a Man United fan, the new Juventus stadium should be fantastic.
After Torino, the policy battles kicked off and I went to Geneva for WHOs FCTC COP9 meeting to deliver our message to the delegates in small pink boxes with everything that you need to know to #BackVapingBeatSmoking included in it.
I went to Geneva with the true belief that delegates to COP need to be aware of the tremendous benefits of vaping for public health. It saddens me to see the WHO FCTC so often make decisions based on archaic strategies that have failed miserably in the past.
Sadly, and against logic, the WHO FCTC has excluded vapers from participating in the COP 9 discussions, and the WVA’s demonstration was quickly ejected from the vicinity of the WHO building. Nevertheless, we displayed throughout the city a powerful selection of quit stories from all over the world, many of which we gathered from our bus tour. We are absolutely convinced that people who decide the future of vaping also need to hear from the persons most affected by their decisions – the vapers.
I left Geneva with a renewed sense of purpose, a lot of optimism for the next stop, Brussels.
Tip: Cheese fondue!
We arrived in Brussels with the same goal: we need to protect vaping from unscientific and excessive regulation. As Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan is in its final stages and a flavour ban could be looming over vapers all over Europe, we decided that we need to make MEPs listen to the voice of vapers before it is too late. Our iconic Vape Bus and vapers’ testimonials were displayed in front of the European Parliament and many could see throughout the day how helpful vaping is for millions of people. During our stay in Brussels we met with several MEPs and explained to them that flavours are an essential part of vaping. A ban would have so many negative consequences and ruin the chances of many to stay off cigarettes forever.
Luckily, more and more politicians are listening and starting to see the enormous potential vaping has to finally beat cancer. That is why together with our Polish partner, Michalina, I delivered 7.000 petitions to Polish politicians to make sure our voices are heard.
Vapers can change the world. My views may seem idealistic, but I am convinced if we fight together to defend vaping, millions of lives can be saved – 200 million that is!
Politicians can’t miss this opportunity. Our community is stronger than ever and the fight continues and the World Vapers’ Alliance and I personally, will do whatever we can to support vapers around the globe. Together we can win – not just for ourselves, but also for public health in general. And I can promise you, along the way we will also have some fun!
Vape on and even though it is sometimes hard, enjoy it and try not to forget that only by BACKING VAPING we will be able to BEAT SMOKING for good!
If you haven’t already, get involved and join the World Vapers’ Alliance.