The organisers of the Global Forum on Nicotine invite nominations for a new award – the Vaping Advocate of the Year.

This is a unique opportunity to give recognition to some of the people who work tirelessly, most often without reward, to further the cause of vaping, often in the face fierce opposition. There are two categories:

  • a consumer advocate with no prior background of advocacy, or experience in the field of public health.
  • an advocate for e-cigarettes, who may or may not be a vaper, but who has promoted the cause of vaping as a tobacco harm reduction strategy, using their background in science, health, advocacy or academia.

We have assembled an international panel of leading vaping advocates to determine the winner in each category.

The winners will be invited to attend the GFN 2016, in Warsaw, in June, and will also be presented with certificates in recognition of their achievements.

The judges will base their decisions on the following criteria:

  • The nature of the person’s involvement – for example, are they active in influencing policy; are they involved in advocating for product safety; are they involved in organising campaigns etc
  • The actual/potential impact of their involvement
  • Their success in engaging others in advocacy
  • Number of nominations received.

Previous award winners

2015 - Jens Mellin (Germany) and Professor Bernd Mayer (Austria)

Clive Bates , Counterfactual Consulting, United Kingdom. Clive Bates has had varied career having worked in the private sector for IBM, in the UK government in Tony Blair's Strategy Unit, the United Nations in Sudan, for Greenpeace and for Action on Smoking and Health in the UK, which is why he is interested in smoke free alternatives to tobacco.  Since early 2013 he has his own public interest consultancy and advocacy organisation, including the Counterfactual blog.  He is interested in the enormous public health potential of tobacco harm reduction and is not engaged by pharmaceutical, e-cigarette or tobacco interests.

Stefan Didak switched from smoking to vaping over 4 years ago and has been a vocal and active supporter and advocate for vapor products and is frequently seen testifying in front of state and local legislators and policy makers.

Outside of Stefan’s legislative and PR efforts, including the creation of the website and movement and the educational campaign, he is mostly known for working out of the world’s most famous home office. Prior to dedicating all his time to vaping advocacy he was a software engineer who started his first business at the age of 18 and for over 25 years has been involved in developing 3D computer graphics and animation software.

Louise Ross is the Stop Smoking service manager for Leicester City, working for Leicester City Council while maintaining strong links with all NHS bodies in the area. She has worked in smoking cessation and tobacco control for over ten years. Previously she had managed a large care home for people with learning disabilities for almost 30 years, and this career change, an opportunity that disproves the theory that one needs a life-plan to be happy, has been a fantastic opportunity to influence people’s health for the better.
Initially suspicious of e-cigs, since 2013 she became a committed advocate of listening to what the general public, and Stop Smoking service users in particular, are saying about their experiences of vaping.