Social media engagement about the annual World Vape Day increased considerably this year, according to the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates.
“The social media analytics for World Vape Day are impressive. It enjoyed huge growth in the number of postings, followers, and positive comments. Without doubt, #WVD21 gained much more traction than 2020’s event,” said Nancy Loucas, executive coordinator of CAPHRA.
Some estimates report a 125-percent increase in Twitter traffic about World Vape Day from May 29 to June 2 compared to the same period last year.
This year’s World Vape Day on May 30 highlighted smoke-free products as ‘the better choice’ to combustible cigarettes which are linked to more than eight million premature deaths each year.
CAPHRA and consumer advocacy groups in the Asia Pacific region called on the World Health Organization and governments to provide smokers with better access to innovative, safer nicotine products.
Loucas said #WVD21 achieved significant cut-through for a number of reasons.
“The WHO and many in the media seemed to have rebooted their campaign against vaping lately which only energizes the 68 million people globally who have switched from smoking to vaping, saving millions of lives every year. Their success and personal stories are the most powerful evidence we have, highlighting vaping as the world’s most effective smoking cessation tool,” she said.
CAPHRA said #WVD21 was further energized in Asia Pacific by the fact that much is happening in the region—both for and against Tobacco Harm Reduction public policy.
The Philippines House of Representatives passed landmark risk-proportionate legislation to regulate vaping just days before #WVD21 which the Senate is expected to pass in the coming months.
Peter Paul Dator, president of the Philippines consumer group Vapers PH and CAPHRA member, said excitement is building ahead of the Senate’s approval given the country’s stubbornly high smoking rates.
“If you judge it on information, views, and support exchanged across our social media platforms, World Vape Day this year was undoubtedly the biggest we’ve seen in the Philippines. It was boosted by the fact it’s a really positive time as we await the Senate’s formal support for vaping,” said Dator.
Interest in #WVD21 was also up in New Zealand, helped by its Parliament unanimously passing an act to regulate vaping late last year, with the country’s smoke-free goal now also a greater priority for the Government.
Across the Tasman, many of Australia’s 500,000 vapers were engaged with World Vape Day out of growing desperation.
From Oct. 1, 2020, their Therapeutic Goods Administration is implementing a prescription-only model for nicotine vaping. Advocates pushing for vaping to be legalized in Australia describe the added requirement for ex-smokers sourcing vaping products from overseas as a slap in the face.
“There are many factors that came together to make #WVD21 the biggest yet. Governments and the media can no longer discount the growing global support for adults’ right to choose a healthier smoke-free lifestyle,” said Loucas.
Consumer groups in the Asia-Pacific region have launched a petition at change.org/v4v-petition that urges the WHO to respect consumer rights and to stop demonizing Tobacco Harm Reduction options ahead of the next biennial meeting of the WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control in November this year.