Every week, we shine a light on one of the WVA’s outstanding partners. They all advocate for the rights of vapers in their countries.
This week, we are speaking with Kurt Yeo, co-founder of Vaping Saved My Life. He explains why his organisation came to life and how it became an outspoken forum for vapers in South Africa.
Vaping Saved My Life is a movement that was started in mid-2017 by Craig Stuart and Kurt Yeo, who are both long-time vaping enthusiasts. Both of them had been heavy smokers for more than two decades. After many failed attempts using traditional and approved methods, Craig and Kurt found that vaping was the solution that finally helped them quit smoking. They learned about many individuals that had similar stories and experiences, which just strengthened their resolve that switching to safer nicotine delivery methods could potentially remove the deadliest scourge facing the global society – smoking.
In 2017 there was a sudden upswing in the spread of negative reporting and misinformation on the potential harms associated with vaping. It culminated when the South African Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoledi, publicly stated on national television that given the power, he would ban vaping. This inspired Craig and Kurt to create a Facebook page where former smokers, now vapers, could share their stories and upload testimonials on the benefits they have seen since switching.
The wave of negative reporting and sentiment in the media and government of South Africa continued and eventually lead to the 2018 proposed Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Draft Bill. The bill seeks to regulate electronic cigarettes similarly to tobacco and place the same level of restrictions on products that have been proven to be less harmful and more successful in helping smokers quit. This forced Vaping Saved My Life to engage and be outspoken on the matter.
Vaping Saved My Life now dedicates its time to not only sharing and educating on the benefits of switching to less harmful products but also dispelling the ever-present misrepresentation of science and constant spread of misinformation on the topic. In order to combat this, it is vital that like-minded individuals and groups join forces and act collectively. This is why Vaping Saved My Life decided to partner with the World Vapers Alliance, whereby groups and individuals spanning the globe can share; interact and lend support to all regions that face similar challenges. For far too long, smokers have been treated as 2nd class citizens by stigmatizing; ostracising, and taxing them, with no real solution offered. With the help of fellow vape activists under the umbrella of the World Vapers Alliance, we can finally raise our collective voices and fight for a real workable solution to rid the world of the smoking scourge
.We Are Not Tobacco. Vaping Saved My Life and will save millions more if the truth is known.