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Embargoed to 00:01 BST on 17th August 2018

The New Nicotine Alliance warmly welcomes the Science and Technology Committee’s report on e-cigarettes as a “beacon of enlightenment” for public health

  • The Committee is right to highlight misconceptions surrounding e-cigarettes and the NNA echoes the Committee’s call for risk-based regulation to encourage more smokers to switch to safer nicotine products
  • Streamlining MHRA processes for approving medically licensed products and permitting vaping in mental health facilities by default are brave proposals that could have a dramatic positive effect on how the public views their relative safety
  • Public perception of the benefits of vaping has stalled, so the NNA welcomes the Committee’s recommendations to liberalise advertising rules to allow health claims and its call for the benefits of e-cigarettes to be recognised by allowing their use more widely
  • The Committee’s proposals to review provisions in the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations, to include heated tobacco products in the Government’s annual review of safer nicotine products, and its call for a review on the evidence supporting the ban on snus are also greatly welcomed

LONDON, August 17nd, 2018: The Government’s Science and Technology Committee – chaired by Sir Norman Lamb – today released a report on e-cigarettes containing several evidence-based policy proposals which would positively transform the way vaping is viewed by businesses, institutions and the public alike.

The New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) warmly welcomes this report for its clear and unequivocal message that e-cigarettes and other alternative nicotine products are far safer than combustible tobacco and should be treated as such.

“E-cigarettes are a proven safer alternative to smoking and the UK boasts 1.5 million former smokers who have converted from combustible tobacco to exclusively vaping instead. The Science and Technology Committee has wisely recognised that misconceptions about e-cigarettes are threatening further progress in encouraging their use by smokers who choose to quit.” said NNA Chair Sarah Jakes.

“We welcome the Committee’s call for a root and branch review of how risk-reduced products are treated by businesses, institutions and government itself. The report is a beacon of enlightenment in an area of public health which is often burdened by dogma and outdated thinking towards the use of nicotine.

“This report dovetails with the government’s Tobacco Control Plan commitment to back innovative products in its drive to encourage smokers to quit, and its recommendations are evidence-based and designed to maximise the benefits of safer nicotine delivery. The World Health Organisation recognises tobacco harm reduction as a guiding principle of its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, so we welcome the Committee’s call for the UK to become an even greater world leader in this field than is already the case.”

“There is a lot of confusion about e-cigarettes amongst the public, health institutions and businesses”, said Jakes, “this report is therefore timely and could have hugely positive implications for public health if its recommendations are implemented in full. Sir Norman’s committee has done an excellent job of peering through the mist of misunderstanding surrounding e-cigarettes and its policy proposals can go a long way to dispel the - often deliberately fabricated - misconceptions that are deterring many thousands of smokers from switching. We would urge the government to read the Committee’s findings carefully and act on them without delay”

Issued on behalf of the New Nicotine Alliance

Contact:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Note to Editors: The NNA is a registered UK charity staffed by consumer volunteers, formed to increase understanding about the benefits of “new” (risk-reduced) nicotine products and a better recognition of long-term recreational use of nicotine as a powerful incentive for smoking cessation.

Sources

Committee Report: House of Commons Science and Technology Committee “E-cigarettes - Seventh Report of Session 2017–19” 
https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmsctech/505/505.pdf

Promote e-cigarettes widely as substitute for smoking (Royal College of Physicians)
https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/news/promote-e-cigarettes-widely-substitute-smoking-says-new-rcp-report

UK Tobacco Control Plan: “Backing evidence based innovations to support quitting” (page 5)
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/630217/Towards_a_Smoke_free_Generation_-_A_Tobacco_Control_Plan_for_England_2017-2022__2_.pdf

Increased public misperceptions about nicotine as harmful
Public Health England, Evidence review of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products - McNeill A, Brose LS, Calder R, Bauld L & Robson D (2018). https://www.gov.uk/government/news/phe-publishes-independent-expert-e-cigarettes-evidence-review

Article 1(d) of the FCTC http://www.who.int/tobacco/framework/WHO_FCTC_english.pdf

 

Tobacco Policy: Commons Committee Urges Review Of Snus Ban

Embargo 00.01 Friday 17 August 2018

  • Commons Committee says government should reassess the ban on snus
  • The oral tobacco product has seen smoking rates in Sweden fall to 5%
  • Scientists describe the ban as “entirely disproportionate”
  • UK users of snus say it keeps them from smoking deadly cigarettes
  • Department of Health wants the ban to continue


A House of Commons Select Committee has urged the government to consider ending the 28 year old ban [1] on the oral tobacco product snus.

The Science and Technology Committee called for “an evidence-based assessment of the case for discontinuing the ban on ‘snus’ oral tobacco” to go alongside a comprehensive review of e-cigarette regulation. [2]

Snus is banned across the EU but its use in Scandinavia has been accompanied by huge reductions in smoking. In Sweden, which has an exemption from the EU ban, the smoking rate has plummeted to 5% - by far the lowest in the EU. [3] Snus is used by 20% of Swedish adults [4] and the country has the lowest level of tobacco-related deaths in Europe according to World Health Organisation figures. [5] In neighbouring Norway the smoking rate among young women has fallen from 30% to just 1% over the last 16 years. [6]

A succession of scientific reports [7] has found no evidence of mortality associated with snus use - including no link to oral cancer. [8] Action on Smoking and Heath says snus is “over 100 times less harmful” than smoking [9] and the World Health Organisation also regards it as far safer. [10]

Professor Riccardo Polosa, who gave oral evidence to the Select Committee, said that “there is a strong consensus among the scientific community that the ban on snus is entirely disproportionate. Without a shadow of a doubt snus is vastly safer than smoking.” [11]

Snus can be legally used in the UK but not sold. This has led to a lot of users importing it themselves including Premier League footballers [12] and Scandinavians living in the UK.

“I am very excited by the possible end of the snus ban. Snus has saved my life,” says Nikki Hallam who has used snus for the last two years. “Snus is the only thing which keeps me from going back to smoking,” she added.

Many non-Scandinavians also bring snus into the UK: “As soon as I get to the US where the FDA has authorised snus I buy an armful of tins which help keep me off the fags when I’m back in the UK” says Neil McLaren who lives in Kent and is the co-founder of Vaping. com.

Professor Gerry Stimson of the New Nicotine Alliance charity said: “This report is a milestone for harm reduction pointing the way to pragmatic, proportionate regulation of e-cigarettes. It is also the beginning of the end for the grotesque mistake of banning snus which has been hugely successful in reducing smoking and saving lives.” [13]

The European Court of Justice is currently reviewing the EU ban on snus. [14] The Department of Health told the Commons Committee that it opposed the EU legalising snus because of “controversy”. [15] Chewed tobacco which is used by half a million South Asians in the UK remains legal despite it being highly carcinogenic. [16]

Issued on behalf of the New Nicotine Alliance

Contact

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Sources

[1] Snus Ban: It was banned in the UK in 1990 and the EU in 1992. Sweden had an exemption when it joined the EU in 1995. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1989/2347/introduction/made
http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-14-134_en.htm
[2] Committee Report: House of Commons Science and Technology Committee “E-cigarettes - Seventh Report of Session 2017–19”: snus is mentioned on page 4 https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmsctech/505/505.pdf
[3] Sweden Smoking Fall: Daily smoking fell in Sweden from 8% to 5% over the last three years. See page 27 of EU Eurobarometer 2017. http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/index.cfm/Survey/getSurveyDetail/instruments/SPECIAL/surveyKy/2146
[4] Sweden Snus Use: Snus is legal in Sweden and 20% of people are daily users of oral/chewed/nasal tobacco. See footnote on page 73 of EU Eurobarometer 2017. http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/index.cfm/Survey/getSurveyDetail/instruments/SPECIAL/surveyKy/2146
[5] Sweden Lowest Tobacco Mortality in Europe: Lars Ramström, Institute for Tobacco Studies, Sweden. Sweden’s pathway to Europe’s lowest level of tobacco-related mortality. Data from The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2016, Lancet 2017; 390: 1345–422
[6] Norway 1% smoking rate: among young women smoking fell from 30% to 1% in sixteen years: Norwegian Smoking Data (select data using tick icons and then download to Excel). https://www.ssb.no/en/statbank/table/05307/?rxid=fba52324-e745-43b1-8740-058b118535f6
[7] Snus Health Impact: The Lancet: Global Burden of Disease Study, 2017: No evidence of harm being done by long-term use of snus ”for any health outcome” See page 1364: http://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(17)32366-8.pdf . Epidemiology: Two academic studies have shown that if snus were available in the rest of Europe it could save between 200,000 and 355,000 lives every year. Brad Rodu, 2004 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15074568 Snus Commission report, 2017 http://snuskommissionen.se/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Snuskommissionen_rapport3_eng_PRINT.pdf
[8] Oral cancer: for snus “no overall association is seen for oropharyngeal cancer”. See section 3.1 Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21163315
[9] Action on Smoking and Health: “the contradictory, illogical law on tobacco… leaves cigarettes legal while snus, which is over 100 times less harmful, is banned.” http://ash.org.uk/media-and-news/press-releases-media-and-news/eu-ruling-on-smokeless-tobacco-shows-need-for-independent-tobacco-regulation/
[10] World Health Organisation: Swedish snus is “considerably less hazardous than cigarettes”. Page 273 http://www.who.int/tobacco/global_interaction/tobreg/publications/9789241209519.pdf
[11] Professor Polosa Biography: https://www.e-cigarette-summit.com/speaker/professor-riccardo-polosa/
[12] Football: Jamie Vardy: snus use https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/jamie-vardy-pictured-chewing-tobacco-81893422 Charlie Adams says snus is prevalent amongst footballers: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/43598615
[13] Professor Gerry Stimson: https://nnalliance.org/nna-uk/board/67-stimson-gerry
[14] European Court of Justice asked to lift ban on snus. Latest proceedings: https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-europe-court-swedish-match/eu-court-adviser-says-ban-on-swedish-snuff-tobacco-product-valid-idUKKBN1HJ11G
[15] Department of Health Back EU Ban: Committee Report: House of Commons Science and Technology Committee “E-cigarettes - Seventh Report of Session 2017–19”: see paragraph 76 on page 33 https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmsctech/505/505.pdf
[16] Chewed Tobacco Risks: Government chemist shows harmful chemicals: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2563632/ Also: South Asian women suffer 3.7 times more oral cancer than non-South Asians: https://www.nature.com/articles/6604191

UPDATE 

Further to our press release on this worrying issue, we were also pleased to be invited to add our signature to a letter which was sent to the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, and the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock. Led by the UK Vaping Industry Association and also co-signed by prominent Westminster think tanks, the letter strongly criticised the concept of a tax on vaping and attracted significant media interest. You can read the letter in full here.

For immediate release

The New Nicotine Alliance strongly condemns reported proposals to tax vaping products in the UK as a “retrograde step”.

  • ‘Sin taxes’ are completely inappropriate for products which have helped over 1.5 million smokers switch to a safer alternative or quit completely
  • Smoking prevalence has plummeted since e-cigarettes went mainstream, it is unethical to tax consumers for quitting smoking which government claims to support
  • Public perception of the benefits of vaping has stalled. A new tax on these products would send a terrible message to smokers as to the reduced risk of vaping and is a retrograde step for public health

LONDON, August 2nd, 2018: Media reports today quote Whitehall sources claiming that taxation of vaping products is being considered for the autumn Budget.

The New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) strongly condemns the concept of ‘sin taxes’ being applied to nicotine products which have a proven track record of helping smokers who choose to quit or dramatically reduce their risk of smoking-related disease.

“E-cigarettes are a proven safer alternative to smoking and the UK boasts 1.5 million former smokers who have converted from combustible tobacco to exclusively vaping instead. Applying a so-called ‘sin tax’ is completely inappropriate for products which have a successful track record of diverting smokers away from combustible tobacco. Switching from smoking to vaping is not ‘sinning’, it is the exact opposite.” said NNA Chair Sarah Jakes.
“The UK has spent decades trying to convince smokers to quit and devices that can deliver the nicotine they enjoy without the harm of combustible tobacco are a perfect solution for huge numbers of people. Vaping has been the catalyst for a dramatic decline in smoking prevalence in recent years. It is, therefore, highly unethical for government to then financially punish vapers, especially since public health campaigns like Stoptober actively encourage the use of e-cigarettes.

“Health groups in the UK rightly support tobacco harm reduction, as endorsed by the Behavioural Insights Team set up by government. Public Heath England also back vaping and the Royal College of Physicians urges wide promotion of e-cigarettes to reassure and encourage smokers to use them, as does the government’s own Tobacco Control Plan.

“The UK is regarded worldwide as a global leader in tobacco harm reduction and the results speak for themselves”, said Jakes, “however public perception of the benefits of vaping has stalled. Applying a tax can only further degrade general misperceptions by implying that vaping is a ‘sin’ and therefore dangerous. A new tax on vaping products would be unethical, sends entirely the wrong message to smokers, is at odds with current government policy, and would be a retrograde step for public health. It is a daft idea and one which we urge the Treasury to abandon immediately.”

The NNA strongly condemns a ‘sin tax’ on vaping products, instead we urge government to be more positive about harm reduction and commit to join with supportive public health bodies in correcting misplaced doubt towards successful consumer-driven solutions to smoking.

Issued on behalf of the New Nicotine Alliance

Note to Editors: The NNA is a registered UK charity staffed by consumer volunteers, formed to increase understanding about the benefits of “new” (risk-reduced) nicotine products and a better recognition of long-term recreational use of nicotine as a powerful incentive for smoking cessation.

Sources:

 

For immediate release

The New Nicotine Alliance applauds Sir Kevin Barron on voicing his commitment to e-cigarettes during yesterday’s Tobacco Control Plan debate and calls on government to be less cautious about the benefits of safer products for public health

● Sir Kevin Barron indicated that a “proper harm reduction strategy” would be “an important plank” towards reducing health inequalities

● As Sir Kevin revealed, smoking prevalence in Ireland has stagnated while here it has plummeted, emphasising how policy acceptance of harm reduction produces positive results for public health

● Public perception of the benefits of vaping has stalled. The NNA calls for more proactive messages from government to fully realise the potential of e-cigarettes and other safer nicotine products


LONDON, July 20th, 2018: Yesterday in a debate on the government’s Tobacco Control Plan in the House of Commons, Sir Kevin Barron highlighted the gulf between the UK and Ireland, two countries with identical traditional tobacco control policies but with differing approaches to e-cigarettes. Between 2012 and 2016 smoking dropped by nearly a quarter in the UK . In Ireland, where e-cigarettes are viewed with suspicion, the smoking rate actually went up in this period. 

Sir Kevin, who has 20 years’ experience of government policy surrounding tobacco, suggested that a “proper harm reduction strategy” which further welcomed the advent of innovative nicotine delivery products could deliver significant further benefits to public health in the UK.

The NNA applauds Sir Kevin’s bold vision of the increased role that tobacco harm reduction could play in the future of tobacco control policy and calls on Under-Parliamentary Secretary of State, Steve Brine, to be less cautious and to commit to promoting a better understanding of risk reduced products amongst health authorities under his charge.

“E-cigarettes are a proven safer alternative to smoking and the UK boasts 1.5 million former smokers who have converted from combustible tobacco to exclusively vaping instead. Sir Kevin’s comments are most welcome, but it is continually disappointing that Steve Brine is reluctant to recognise the part that recreational use of these products can play. Instead of adhering to a goal of total nicotine abstinence, it would be better to install policies which would encourage long-term use of alternatives.”, said NNA Chair Sarah Jakes.

“As mentioned during the debate, many smokers genuinely enjoy smoking and view giving up smoking as giving up on an enjoyable part of their life. Devices that can deliver the nicotine they enjoy without the harm of combustible tobacco are a perfect solution for huge numbers of people. Government should be more understanding of the pleasure that nicotine can deliver and of the reasons that current smokers continue to smoke.

“Pleasure should not be a dirty word when it comes to nicotine, just as it isn’t when talking about a pint in the pub or a welcome coffee in the morning. It is the combustion of tobacco which causes the harm, and if smokers are more confident in trying reduced risk products, there will be even more future public health successes, like the ones highlighted by Sir Kevin yesterday.

“The UK is regarded worldwide as a global leader in tobacco harm reduction and the results speak for themselves”, said Jakes, “therefore we hope that Mr Brine will show more leadership, and less caution, towards safer nicotine products to better enable him to achieve the ambitious targets that he has set in the government’s Tobacco Control Plan.”

 

Issued on behalf of the New Nicotine Alliance

Note to Editors:  The New Nicotine Alliance is a charity concerned with improving public health, through a greater understanding of “new” (risk-reduced) nicotine products and their uses.

Sources:

Tobacco Control Plan debate 19 July 2018
https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2018-07-19/debates/AC4C0223-B31C-4AD8-A594-8CD963C96710/TobaccoControlPlan

UK smoking prevalence
19.6% in 2012, see Figure one: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandlifeexpectancies/bulletins/adultsmokinghabitsingreatbritain/2015

15.8% in 2016
https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandlifeexpectancies/bulletins/adultsmokinghabitsingreatbritain/2016#main-points

Ireland smoking prevalence
22% in 2012, see Chapter 3:
https://health.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/TobaccoFreeIreland.pdf

23% in 2016:
http://www.thejournal.ie/smoking-rates-ireland-3289319-Mar2017/

For immediate release

World No Tobacco Day is a missed opportunity, says the New Nicotine Alliance

• The World Health Organisation is misleading in attributing a raised risk of heart and cardiovascular disease to tobacco, rather than smoking.

• The WHO could achieve improved results by adhering to its own stated commitments to tobacco harm reduction and providing opportunities to the public to make informed choices.

• Grass roots tobacco harm reduction campaigns have been instrumental in driving considerable reductions in smoking prevalence in many nations.

• World No Tobacco Day should be an opportunity to raise global awareness of innovative modern alternatives to smoking.

Speaking on World No Tobacco Day 2018, the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) called upon the World Health Organisation to show leadership in highlighting the considerable public health potential of reduced risk products.

“E-cigarettes are a proven safer alternative to smoking which a great many people find an acceptable substitute. They have contributed to record falls in smoking prevalence in the UK.”, said Sarah Jakes, chair of NNA.

“There have also been big declines in smoking prevalence in France and the USA due to uptake of innovative products, while Sweden and Norway boast by far the lowest smoking rates in Europe thanks to the widespread use of snus, a tobacco product which carries a fraction of the risk of smoking lit tobacco.

“The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control was founded with a commitment to encourage tobacco harm reduction. Its Ottawa Charter and Jakarta Declaration also pledge to put people at the heart of decision-making and to support and enable consumers to keep themselves, their families and friends healthy. Yet these goals appear to have been abandoned in favour of blindly attacking industry, ignoring the global success of alternative nicotine products and refusing to engage with consumers.

“On World No Tobacco Day, it is time for leadership from the WHO in educating governments that e-cigarettes are not tobacco products as some states wrongly categorise them, and emphasising that it is the act of lighting tobacco and smoking it which is harmful to heart and cardiovascular disease, not tobacco in all its forms. In 1976, Michael Russell famously said "people smoke for nicotine but they die from the tar", leading to an acceptance of the nicotine replacement therapy market we have today. Yet increasingly the public are being misled into believing nicotine is a problem, when it can be a solution.

“World No Tobacco Day should be a great opportunity to raise awareness of far safer alternative nicotine products to maximise benefits to public health worldwide. The WHO should be empowering people to take control of their health by way of clear messages on differing risks and the relative safety of nicotine, but this year they have sadly missed the target.”, said Sarah Jakes.

The NNA would like to see a greater commitment by the WHO and NGOs to correcting ideological opposition to successful consumer-driven solutions to lit tobacco, and a better recognition of long-term recreational use of nicotine as a powerful incentive for smoking cessation.


Issued on behalf of the New Nicotine Alliance

Contact: Sarah Jakes 0300 302 0029


Note to Editors: The New Nicotine Alliance is a charity concerned with improving public health, through a greater understanding of “new” (risk-reduced) nicotine products and their uses.

Sources
WHO | World No Tobacco Day
World Health Organization page http://www.who.int/mediacentre/events/2018/world-no-tobacco-day/en/

UK smoking fall
UKCTAS press release issued 15.06.2017, Vaping may help explain record fall in UK smoking rates http://ukctas.net/smoking-rates-uk-2017

France smoking fall
France had a million fewer smokers in 2017: ministry ,AFP
https://au.news.yahoo.com/france-had-million-fewer-smokers-2017-ministry-142637749--spt.html?guccounter=1

Norway smoking fall
Norway 1% smoking rate: among young women smoking fell from 30% to 1% in sixteen years: Norwegian Smoking Data (select data using tick icons and then download to Excel).https://www.ssb.no/en/statbank/table/05307/?rxid=fba52324-e745-43b1-8740-058b118535f6 and bottom of Mirror article: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/hospitals-sell-e-cigarettes-sick-11975398

Sweden smoking fall
Daily smoking fell in Sweden from 8% to 5% over the last three years. See page 27 of EU Eurobarometer 2017. http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/index.cfm/Survey/getSurveyDetail/instruments/SPECIAL/surveyKy/2146

Health impact of snus
The Lancet: Global Burden of Disease Study, 2017: No evidence of harm being done by long-term use of snus ”for any health outcome” page1364. http://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(17)32366-8.pdf

WHO Ottawa Charter
http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/129532/Ottawa_Charter.pdf

WHO Jakarta Declaration
http://www.who.int/healthpromotion/milestones_ch4_20090916_en.pdf

WHO refuses to engage with consumers
NNA blog, The WHO abuses its authority, published 29.05.2018 https://nnalliance.org/blog/244-the-who-abuses-its-authority

Increased public misperceptions about nicotine as harmful
Public Health England, Evidence review of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products - McNeill A, Brose LS, Calder R, Bauld L & Robson D (2018). https://www.gov.uk/government/news/phe-publishes-independent-expert-e-cigarettes-evidence-review

Expedition to Expo
Vaper Expo is taking place at the NEC in Birmingham next weekend and NNA will be there, in the Media Meet and Greet area. Trustees Andy Morrison and John Summers and Associates Martin Cullip and Sue Wilson plus NNA administrator Jessica Harding will be at the NNA stand and would very much like to see you there. The Expo organisers have, as always, made us very welcome and we would be as delighted to welcome you to our stand so please do pop by, to learn more about what we do or just for an idle chat.

Vaper Expo 2018

Snus you lose
The Advocate General gave his opinion on the snus case – in which the NNA was involved as intervenor- at the European Court of Justice on 12th April. You can read our media release here.

It is very disappointing that he recommended the ban on the sale of snus throughout the EU (except Sweden) is upheld, but the final decision isn’t expected until later in the year, and it isn’t unheard of for a final decision to go against the Advocate General’s opinion. It’s fair to say though that the likelihood is that once again common sense will be side lined and that snus, a harm reduction product which has contributed to Sweden boasting dramatically lower smoking prevalence and associated diseases, will continue to be prohibited for purely political reasons.

This won’t stop us in the NNA for fighting for what we know is right. We are very encouraged that the case has boosted a new snus advocacy movement: EUforSnus now numbers over 3000 members and social media has shown an impressive uptick in vapers supportive of snus as a harm reduction opportunity, like the one they have seen to be so successful for themselves. The snus case is just the end of the beginning. There is lots more to come and NNA will be amongst it.

New Statesperson
A New Statesman event entitled “When might England become Smokefree?” took place within the shadow of the House of Commons on 10th April, and our Chair, Sarah Jakes, was on the expert panel. Read more in our post about the event here. Sarah laid out the NNA’s stated position on a number of harm reduction avenues and stressed that we still have a long way to go, unless stakeholders realise that it is smokers who will decide what is the best way to quit or switch, not self- appointed experts. The important thing is that a suite of products is made available in order that everyone who chooses to stop smoking can be enabled to do so.

The event was filmed so we hope that the footage will be available soon. Keep checking back to the NNA website and social media accounts: as soon as we see it, so will you.

Hope you liked Jamming too
Vape Jam went extremely well and we really enjoyed meeting so many of you there. Thank you very much to Vape Jam for, once again, making us so welcome and donating the proceeds of the superb raffle to us. Thank you very much too to SoulOhm reviews for giving fantastic presentations for NNA.


SoulOhm Vape Jam

    SoulOhm reviews on stage for NNA

raffle prizes Vape Jam

   Some of the raffle prizes at Vape Jam

Forum frolics
The chair and former chair of the NNA both took part in a panel at the UKVIA Forum in London last week, chaired by Norman Lamb who is currently conducting an enquiry into vaping and other harm reduction methods in Parliament. Sarah made the point that the people who implacably oppose harm reduction will never listen to reason, while Gerry expressed disappointment that the public health cognoscenti seem reluctant to embrace e-cigs as the public health benefit that they obviously are. We think - thanks also to a question from the floor by the IBVTA - they may have hit the target - read on to find out why.

UKVIA forum panel debate

UKVIA panel debate with Norman Lamb, Sarah Jakes, Lynne Dawkins, Dan Marchant and Gerry Stimson

NNA gathering pluses in May
The UK Parliament's Science and Technology Committee will be holding another oral evidence session for their E-cigarettes inquiry on the afternoon of 9th May. Sarah will be giving evidence on behalf of NNA, it will be online live and our Facebook and Twitter accounts will feed you the link when we know it. This is your advocacy group in the heart of Westminster speaking your message directly to MPs.

NICE and easy does it
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) are updating their suite of tobacco and smoking guidelines and the NNA hopes to be involved in helping to shape them. The guidelines cover prevention, cessation and tobacco harm reduction and Sarah Jakes – who recently served as a member of the NICE public health advisory committee on smoking cessation – attended a workshop at NICE to give a consumer point of view on the scope of the updates. E-cigarettes will feature heavily in this update, and it is important that NICE get this right (or at least don’t bugger it up)...

Alan Beard tweet

Parroting sense
If you missed it do go and watch this amusing but educational video from the NCSCT which calmly debunks many of the myths spread about vaping. Passive vaping for parrots was produced in conjunction with NNA and we are listed in the credits.

 

Help us to help you
As you can see, the NNA has been busy on your behalf but we couldn’t do it without your support. NNA advocates are unpaid volunteers but expenses are inevitably incurred along the way, so please keep your donations coming in via the donate button below. Why not consider setting up a standing order or regular PayPal payment, to help us to help you?

We look forward to bringing you more NNA news at the end of May.

DONATE TO NNA

At 9.30 tomorrow morning MPs will be debating vaping in Westminster Hall. The debate will be lead by Gareth Johnson, Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on E-cigarettes.

It is essential that MPs understand vaping if they are to make informed decisions about appropriate regulation, and a key aspect of that is clear information about the safety of e-cigarettes. In this short video, Clive Bates and Professors John Britton, Ann McNeill, and Robert West, all experts in the field of tobacco, outline what we know about the safety of vaping, and the implications for public health. Please share it with your MP.

Full Video (to follow)

Short version

Today saw the latest release of adult smoking rate data from the Office of National Statistics based on the Annual Population Survey and the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey. The data shows that over the last 12 months, the overall smoking rate has fallen at a historical rate of 1.5%, to a new historical low of 17.2%.

Worth celebrating are the specific age group declines - 18-24 fell from 20.7% to 19.3%, 25-34 fell from 23.0% to 20.8%, 35-44 fell from 19.5% to 18.1%. Among the respondents included in this survey, 5.6% stated they were current e-cigarette users, equating to approximately 2.9 million users.

The Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) today released a policy paper in response to an undercover investigation that has seemingly identified that nine out of ten vape shops are knowingly selling to non-smokers. The basis of this 'news' is found in the IBVTA Code of Conduct with focus on item three:

Vape products are for current or former smokers and existing users of vaping devices, therefore never knowingly sell to anyone who is not a current or former smoker, or a current vaper.

At the end of 2016 NNA joined forces with NCSCT to produce a series of videos about different aspects of vaping. The first one, 'The Switch', is now available to watch on the NCSCT YouTube channel where you will also find additional videos of each vaper talking about their individual experience of switching from smoking to vaping. 

Click on the links below to see the videos:

The Switch (introduction)

The Switch (full)

Sarah's Story

Paul's Story

Paul B's Story

Lorien's Story

Glen's Story

Tom's Story

Catherine's Story

John's Story

 

A study into how e-cigarettes can help stop people relapsing after giving up smoking is looking for volunteers.

Researchers are calling for the help of people who have previously used e-cigarettes to give up smoking, in a bid to better understand their effectiveness and inform future ‘stop smoking’ initiatives.

The study, taking place at the University of East Anglia (UEA) Norwich Medical School and funded by Cancer Research UK, requires members of the public who have quit with the help of e-cigarettes and have either stayed stopped, or gone back to smoking.

Dr Caitlin Notley from UEA’s Norwich Medical School said: “Tobacco smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death worldwide, and up to two thirds of long-term smokers will die of a smoking-related disease.

“But the risk can be considerably reduced by stopping smoking, and staying stopped. We need the help of people who have used e-cigarettes, so that we can better understand how they might be used most effectively in the future.”

Amongst all quitters, 90 per cent of attempts to stop smoking end in relapse. In recent years e-cigarette use has boomed, and previous studies have shown many people use them to either cut down or stop smoking entirely. However, a recent survey showed up to 63 per cent of them went back to smoking.

Dr Notley said: “It appears that e-cigarettes have significant potential to aid smoking cessation, and recent evidence suggests they are as effective or more effective than nicotine replacement therapy. But we still know very little about people in the general population who quit smoking using an e-cigarette and their eventual relapse status. We need the help of the public to understand this better. Our ultimate aim is to develop guidance for health professionals so that they can advise people how best to use e cigarettes in the long term, if that is their choice, to stay stopped from smoking”

Volunteers will be interviewed by phone or in person about their experiences of using e-cigarettes for stopping smoking and, if they relapsed, about going back to smoking.

Volunteers can also take part in an online version of the interview if they would prefer.

Dr Notley said: “This study will provide much needed qualitative evidence on e-cigarette use in relation to smoking relapse. This is essential to inform future development of e-cigarette-based smoking relapse prevention interventions. Our findings will be important for policy and practice recommendations, in particular to Stop Smoking services about the best way to advise members of the public wishing to remain stopped from smoking with the assistance of e-cigarettes.”

James Wade, lead advisor at Smoke Free Norfolk, said: “Smokefree Norfolk would like to support those participants who want to quit smoking with the aid of E-Cigarettes. There is still benefit to having the behavioural support alongside the use of the E-Cigarette. So if any participants are attempting to stop smoking with the use of EC and would like support then please contact us on 0800 0854 113.”

To get involved in the study, volunteers can contact Dr Emma Ward by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., by calling 01603 59230 or by texting 07765 072527. The online version of the study is at www.uea.ac.uk/medicine/research/addiction.

The EU Commission is currently consulting on a revision to the Tobacco Excise Directive, which could see reduced risk products such as e-cigarettes being included. Our associate Clive Bates has written an in depth briefing together with NNA which details why this is a very bad idea. The full briefing can be read here. The consultation can be found here.

There is no case on principled or practical grounds to apply excise duties to vaping products and other products that offer a much safer alternative to smoking.  The value to health and wellbeing associated with switching from smoking to vaping will exceed any benefits arising from revenue collection.

Just as it was with the Tobacco Products Directive, the inclusion of products which do not contain tobacco in the Tobacco Excise Directive is unhelpful and risks creating confusion in the minds of consumers.

If vapour and other reduced risk products are to be included in the directive then our view is as follows:

  • Excise policies on reduced risk products can have a significant negative impact for human health and is inconsistent with EU requirements to make policy with a high level of health protection.
  • The EU principle of 'non-discrimination' requires that products with very different characteristics are not treated in the same way - the vast difference in health risks means that reduced risk products must have zero or very low taxation relative to smoked tobacco products.
  • There is an opportunity to create a regime which will incentivise use of the safer products.
  • The risk is that poor policy will reduce this incentive, and so protect the market for smoked tobacco products.
  • Excise duty is a 'sin tax' and switching to low risk products is a virtue to be encouraged, not a sin to be taxed.

Our recommendations for low risk non combustible products are as follows:

  • If they are included in the directive then a zero rate duty must be allowed.
  • There should be a maximum rate set which reflects the very substantial difference in risk compared to smoked tobacco.

We urge the European Commission, European Council and member state tax authorities to take great care in striking the balance between public health, revenue raising and administrative costs. The institutions involved should conduct thorough impact assessments, take a hard look at the risks of causing harm to health and then think again about imposing excise duties on products that are already helping millions of Europeans to improve their health and wellbeing and have the potential to help millions more.

Please do read the full briefing and have your say. Make sure your MP also understands your concerns.

The Freedom Association's Freedom to Vape Campaign has today released a report detailing the vaping policies of 386 of the UK's 417 local authorities. The report makes very grim reading.

Despite the fact that there are no known harms to bystanders from the aerosol from vapour devices, and that many people are using them to quit smoking, only one council, Enfield, has a policy which encourages the use these devices, which are estimated to be a total least 95% safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes.

The key findings of the report are:

  • 112 councils require vapers to use only the designated smoking areas to vape
  • 335 councils have the same, or essentially the same policy for vaping as for smoking
  • 1 council, the London Borough of Enfield, allows vaping indoors and actively encourages smokers to switch to vaping
  • 3 councils allow vaping at desks but only because they don't have a policy

Clearly there are situations where for either operational, public image, or other reasons it may be inappropriate to allow staff to vape, but there is absolutely no excuse for a blanket ban in line with smoking legislation, much less a policy which requires non smokers or those trying to quit with vapour devices to go to a smoking shelter to vape. Indeed on that subject Public Health England says the following:

"It is never acceptable to require vapers to share the same outdoor space with smokers. Where a designated outdoor smoking area has been provided in a public place or workplace, vapers should be allowed to vape elsewhere."

The Public Health England advice entitled 'Use of E-cigarettes in Workplaces' lists five key considerations when setting policy:

  • Make clear the distinction between vaping and smoking
  • Ensure policies are informed by the evidence on health risks to bystanders
  • Identify and manage risks of uptake by children's and young people
  • Support smokers to stop smoking and stay smokefree
  • Support compliance with smokefree law and policies

The policies set by the vast majority of local authorities in the UK ignore some or all of the recommendations by Public Health England, have no justification and will discourage people from switching from smoking to vaping. This is unacceptable. The Freedom Association report includes a handy list of local authorities and their policies - we suggest you locate yours and write them a polite and appropriate letter. If you live in the London Borough of Enfield please write to them to congratulate them for being a beacon of common sense in a sea of lazy thinking. The full report is available here.

Update: our friends at Vapers in Power have made it easy for you to do just that: 

https://vapersinpower.wordpress.com/2016/11/06/changing-how-your-council-sees-vaping/

The consultation on the advertising of of e-cigarettes closes today. The consultation document including the questions is here. You can read our response is here.

 

INNCO global members support UKCTAS in their critique of the WHO FCTC policy on e-cigarettes.

Today, the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations (INNCO) added its support to a critical report released this morning by leading academics attached to the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS), in response to the WHO’s FCTC latest report on e-cigarettes (or ENDS as the WHO inexplicably insist on calling them).

The report by the WHO forms the basis for discussions at the forthcoming Conference of the Parties (COP7) in Delhi 7-12 November on the global Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The FCTC’s 180 signatories will decide on future global policy relating to cigarettes and other combustible tobacco products, smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes.

The last EU meeting to finalise the collective 28-member EU position on e-cigarettes took place earlier this week  in Brussels.

Atakan Befrits, INNCO’s press officer said “Reports suggest the EU statement will  not contain any positive statements on the risk reduction e-cigarettes offer for smokers, despite recent evidence reviews by Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians that showed enormous benefits for those who switch”.

INNCO called upon all EU Ministers of Health to give immediate attention to the issues raised in the UKCTAS critique of the WHO report, stating -  It is important that the EU collective response to e-cigarettes reflects the positive health benefits conferred on smokers who switch to safer nicotine products and these benefits, as well as potential risks, are assessed objectively.

Judy Gibson, the Steering Group Coordinator of INNCO said “The WHO’s current policy on e-cigarettes is more likely to endanger public health instead of improving it. Once again the WHO remains resolute in refusing to acknowledge scientific evidence and opinions from the world’s leading experts in tobacco addiction. This needs to change - now."

In preparation for the Conference of the Parties of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control meeting in India next month a report was prepared for WHO on Electronic Nicotine Delivery Devices (ENDS) and related products. The report is available online at: http://www.who.int/fctc/cop/cop7/FCTC_COP_7_11_EN.pdf

John Britton, director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, together with colleagues has prepared a response to the WHO report, which can be read in full here.

John Britton said: "In our view the WHO report takes a somewhat unbalanced view of ENDS, in particular by failing to consider or discuss the potential of these products to complement tobacco control policy by providing smokers who have proved unwilling or unable to quit smoking with an effective and far less harmful means of consuming nicotine. Experience in the UK indicates that the availability of electronic cigarettes is proving beneficial to public health. It is important that these benefits, as well as potential risks, are assessed objectively in the formulation of WHO policy."

Let's hope that that is a message that the UK delegation, whoever they may be, will take to COP7. 

Top Scientists Hire Libel Lawyers To Sue The Times - full press release issued by the claimants.

 
  • The Times had accused scientists devoted to ending smoking of being in the pay of big tobacco companies 
  • The newspaper has already been forced to publish a detailed apology to one of the experts it named 
  • Cancer Research UK has refused to back The Times’ description of the charity’s viewpoint

A group of senior scientists and public health experts has hired libel specialists at Lewis Silkin to sue The Times for making highly defamatory allegations.

 

The experts who have devoted their careers to helping to reduce the death toll from smoking, were accused by the paper of being in the pay of tobacco companies. On Wednesday 12 October 2016 under the headline “Tobacco giants fund vaping studies”

 

The Times wrongly accused the experts of accepting money from the tobacco companies for their work and castigated them as being “Experts making a packet” The Times has already withdrawn that description and apologised to one of the experts it defamed - the former head of Action on Smoking and Health, Clive Bates. 

 

Yet it has not apologised to any of the other experts whom it falsely accused of accepting “tens of thousands of pounds from tobacco companies to carry out research into e-cigarettes” 

 

The Times story led its coverage with the claim that Cancer Research UK had “condemned the scientists” for allegedly taking funding for vaping research. However Cancer Research UK’s Tobacco Control Manager George Butterworth has refused to support The Times report saying that “we don’t condemn any researchers.”

 

“This is personal,” said Professor Karl Fagerstrom who is world famous in addiction science, and created the Fagerstrom Test for Cigarette Dependence.  

 

“My life’s work has been built on helping reduce the death toll from tobacco smoking. Yet The Times has portrayed me and my colleagues as hirelings of big tobacco. The Times has chosen to traduce our reputations. Now it is time for the paper to profusely apologise or face a battle it will not win,” said Professor Fagerstrom. The Times claimed that he had been paid for research on e-cigarettes.  However Professor Fagerstrom has never done any research on e-cigarettes.  

 

"We are some of the world’s best known experts on tobaccco harm reduction. Between us we have published more than 1,000 academic papers.  Yet The Times has grotesquely smeared us in a story informed by the ideologue Martin McKee who has never published a single research paper on e-cigarettes” said Professor Riccardo Polosa one of the other academics accused by The Times of publishing e-cigarette research funded by tobacco money.

 

“The Times should examine carefully its motives for this scurrilous attack. Reducing the uptake of safer tobacco alternatives such as e-cigarettes and snus will inevitably result in more deaths from real cigarettes, currently the biggest killer in the world today. Is this really what they want?” asked Professor David Nutt of Imperial College London who was the lead author of a seminal study that which endorsed e-cigarettes and other forms of tobacco harm reduction.  The Times suggested this report was tainted by tobacco money.

 

Yet the biggest mistake by The Times was not to research the background of the other expert it attacked - Professor David Sweanor of the Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics at the University of Ottawa.  As well as being a distinguished public health academic and longstanding anti-smoking activist, he is a philanthropist with a fortune made from lawsuits against tobacco companies.  

 

“My reputation has been trashed by The Times. Despite ample evidence of my independence it claimed that I am beholden to big tobacco companies.  It is like saying that Robin Hood was in the pay of the Sheriff of Nottingham. I have to fight this,” added Professor Sweanor. 

 

Jonathan Coad, the partner at Lewis Silkin who will be doing the work said; “The long record of irresponsible journalism about matters of grave public interest on the part of this discredited newspaper group continues , as does the failure of IPSO to properly regulate the British press.”

 

Over the weekend of 14th October, 'Vaper Expo, The Return' saw two NNA Trustees - Dave Dorn and Andy Morrison - address the expo-goers from the main stage. They spoke about how much we need vaper support, A Billion Lives and other matters that really need vapers to get behind and lend their voices and support.

Amazingly, though, the Vaper Expo organisers, who are very, very supportive of the work we do, arranged a donation of £3,300 to the NNA, an amount that will enable us to do much more good work.

At the same time Vapourtrails.tv ran two live shows and featured the work of the NNA extensively - Andy Morrison spoke and collected new sign-ups on their stand.

We are massively grateful to Vaper Expo for not only hosting us, but also raising so much awareness of the NNA - and the donation is gratefully received and will be faithfully applied.

Click for larger image

 

NNA is very proud to be one of the founding members of a new international network of nicotine consumer organisations, INNCO. 

Building on the successes achieved by EVUN in Europe, vaping advocacy has now gone global, in a bid to ensure that the voices of consumers are heard loud and clear, wherever they may be in the world.

In its first press release INNCO has criticised the World Health Organisation for its lack of transparency and refusal to engage with the most important stakeholders of all - consumers. Read the full press release here

The risks and benefits of e‑cigarettes are uncertain but there is emerging evidence that e‑cigarette use may substantially reduce the burden of disease caused by smoking.

August 2nd saw the launch of a public consultation in New Zealand following a statement from the Ministry of Health:

The New Zealand Health Ministry recognises that the legal status of e‑cigarettes is confusing, that the laws are not routinely enforced, and that ‘There is emerging evidence that e‑cigarette use may substantially reduce the burden of disease caused by smoking’. Further, the Ministry of Health ‘proposes to make legislative changes that will maximise the potential benefits of e‑cigarettes and minimise potential risks to smokers and to the wider population.’

 

NNA have responded to the consultation, and you can read our full response here.

NNA (UK) strongly urge any vaper who has not submitted a response to the consultation to do so ahead of the closing date for submission - 5PM Monday 12 September 2016.

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