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NNA welcomes donations from individuals and organisations to support our campaigning work. We are however unable to accept such donations from manufacturers and distributors of nicotine products.

 

Despite a bit of a holiday lull in activity recently, the NNA has still been working hard on your behalf. Our August news was heavy with the NNA being featured in domestic media, but this month has a distinctly international feel to it.

MAJORITY REPORT

Back in June we reported on a petition by French consumer group SoVape to fight the EU on tax being applied to e-cigarettes and other alternative products. We also campaigned to raise awareness of the need for consumers to participate in the consultation, as part of a Europe-wide drive.

The result was tremendous, with vapers contributing in their droves. In total there were over 11,000 responses on the vaping aspect of the proposals, and 90% agreed with the statement that e-cigarettes are not tobacco products and therefore should not be subject to tobacco excise directives. It is true that public consultations can often just be a fig leaf of transparency, but this has sent a very clear message to the EU that taxing vape products is a disastrous idea and that it should think long and hard before committing to making e-cigarettes more expensive and, consequentially, less attractive as an alternative to smoking.

90% of respondents agree that e-cigarettes are not tobacco products

 The full report can be viewed on the Vapolotique blog spot, here, or on the European Commission CIRCABC site.

 

VIVA ESPANA!

On Wednesday 19th September Spain held its first Tobacco Harm Reduction conference, organised by MOVE (Medical Organisations supporting Vaping and Electronic Cigarettes).
Doctors, vapers, suppliers, researchers, scientists and advocates from many countries gathered in Barcelona to listen to experts in the field of harm reduction, and to discuss the barriers, opportunities and challenges of bringing a better understanding of non-combustible nicotine products to Spain.

 

 

 Among the speakers was former NNA Chair Professor Gerry Stimson, who drew comparisons between tackling smoking and dealing with HIV/AIDS, pointing out the loss of common sense among those who suppress a harm reduction approach.

NNA trustee Louise Ross also told the audience how greater success can come with stopping smoking using vaped nicotine, and NNA associate Professor Linda Bauld showed evidence that vaping is not leading young people to start smoking in even moderate numbers, let alone epidemic proportions.

The organisers of this event deserve congratulations for getting it off the ground and we hope it will become a regular fixture in the calendar. You can view some of the highlights of the day by checking out #THRSummitSpain on Twitter.

HONG KONG VIEWEY

This month saw two separate camera crews arrive from Hong Kong to interview vaping consumers about their experiences and how UK government policy has helped them to quit smoking. NNA trustee Martin Cullip arranged for members of the London vape meet crowd to be interviewed by Hong Kong’s most-watched news channel for a 30-minute documentary, along with a YouTuber, who has a huge following amongst the Chinese community in Hong Kong and beyond. We understand that along with being broadcast in Hong Kong itself, there are plenty of viewers of this material in London’s Chinatown and elsewhere in the UK.

The broadcasters have promised to share their resultant shows with us when they are published online, but don’t get your hopes up in case it is dubbed in Chinese.

 

Interview with Niamh

Filming with Andre, Doug, Jon and Niamh in the Edgar Wallace

If you'd be willing to get involved in things like this in the future, please contact us.

The venue for the filming was the Edgar Wallace pub in Temple which is friendly towards considerate vaping, and we were proud to see one of our vaping welcome stickers proudly displayed on their noticeboard. If you would like stickers like this for your local venue, please contact us and we can send you some in return for a modest donation.

 

 

 

 

NICE ONE! 

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence recently concluded its investigations into what should be included in their scope for smoking cessation advice to practitioners. The NNA sent a detailed response to their consultation and we were pleased to see that they have taken many of our suggestions on board.

It is a hefty document but you can read our input and the responses from NICE by scrolling to page 85 here. You can view all the project documents for the Scope here.

TOMORROW'S NEWS TODAY

The WHO’s biennial global Framework Convention on Tobacco Control summit meeting takes place in Geneva in only a matter of days and NNA personnel will be making their presence felt. We are expecting vapers from all over Europe to turn up and try to promote some common sense. You can read our press release urging the UK delegation to do the right thing in Switzerland here.

The Conservative Party Conference also begins on October 1st and Martin Cullip will be appearing at two fringe panel events. On Monday he will be discussing Is Brexit a Victory For Vaping chaired by parliamentary magazine, The House, and on Tuesday taking part in an Adam Smith Institute panel entitled 1 Million Years of Life: How Harm Reduction in Tobacco Policy Can Save Lives. Coming, as it does, just over a month after the government’s influential Science and Technology Select Committee report on e-cigarettes, there promises to be heightened interest in the subject amongst MPs, researchers and party members and NNA are pleased to be able to speak to delegates at the conference of the UK’s governing party.

NNA Chair Sarah Jakes has also been spreading the word this month and was interviewed by Vapor Voice for an article to be coming out soon. We are, as yet, unaware of the exact publication date, but you will know about it as soon as we do.

NNA trustee Sairah Salim-Sartoni has also been busy advising Gloucester Stop Smoking Services on a plan to offer e-cigarettes as an option to smokers, in partnership with reputable vape shops. She has been highlighting great initiatives elsewhere and there is a prospective pilot project being suggested for October. Watch this space.

As always, next month will bring more clarity on all these developments, so check back for further updates.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

Please remember that NNA trustees give their time for free, and we rely on your generous donations to continue to ensure consumer voices are heard. Please keep your donations coming in via the donate button below, and if you can commit to a standing order or regular PayPal payment it would be gratefully received.

DONATE TO NNA HERE

Huge thanks to our Associate, John Summers for raising a very impressive £223 for us with his Facebook birthday fundraiser. NNA is registered as a Facebook charity and raising funds for us on there is very straightforward - why not give it a try? Our Facebook page is here.

John's birthday fundraiser

 

It may be holiday time, but there was no rest for the NNA in a very busy month. Here are just some of the things we got up to in August.

COMMITTEE COMMOTION

The biggest news of the month came on the 17th with the much-awaited release of the Science and Technology Committee’s report on e-cigarettes. It advocated a more mature debate about harm reduction products and made a plethora of welcome recommendations on regulations, advertising restrictions and future NHS policies, as well as calling for measures to drive a better public perception of use in mental health facilities and in public places.

The NNA was well prepared for the report and issued not one, but two, embargoed press releases to coincide with its publication. You can read our welcome for the report here and our release specifically on the issue of snus here. We also published a blog on the day describing the committee’s report as a potential “catalyst for a step change in the UK establishment’s approach to e-cigarettes and other safer nicotine products” which you can read here.

In line with the widespread media coverage the report attracted, NNA representatives were busy all day with media appearances. Supporters Doug Phillips and Niamh O’Farrell spoke on BBC Radio Five Live Breakfast and Channel 5 News respectively, while NNA Chair Sarah Jakes appeared on BBC2’s mid-morning current affairs show, Victoria Derbyshire, which you can watch here.

That wasn’t the end of it, though, Sarah went on to give another 9 interviews to regional BBC radio stations and Martin Cullip also spoke to BBC Radio Scotland. They are too numerous to mention here but you can view all our extensive media spots at the day’s NNA twitter stream here.

Sarah Jakes on Victoria Derbyshire

 AND THEN THERE WAS SNUS

The Committee’s report also recommended a revisit of the science behind the unnecessary EU-wide ban on snus, instigated by the UK in a storm of ill-informed moral panic in the 1980s and adopted by the EU despite its contribution to Sweden boasting by far the lowest smoking rates in Europe.

Former NNA Chair Professor Gerry Stimson was quoted in the Daily Mail hailing the report as “a milestone for harm reduction” and “the beginning of the end for the grotesque mistake of banning snus”, and wrote to The Times, where he stated that “the health department is at war with science in its opposition to snus”, you can read his letter here.

Gerry also appeared on Radio 4’s lunchtime consumer affairs show You and Yours explaining the beneficial recommendations of the Science and Tech Committee’s report, which you can listen to here.

VAPES ON A TRAIN

Understandably, considering the committee report’s bold statements on the use of e-cigarettes in public places, there was a strong backlash on social media from those who have a scant understanding of what vaping is and why smokers are increasingly switching.

NNA trustee Martin Cullip wrote on this subject at Spiked under the provocative title “Let people vape on trains”. Martin argued that the idea should not be controversial, and that the public reaction merely reinforces the committee’s call for a more educated debate about vaping and its role for public health in the UK. He ran through the common objections to vaping in public and why they are mostly founded on misconceptions. It created quite a discussion in the comments, you can read the article here.

The case for vaping on trains

 VAPE TAX SCRAP

Following a letter co-signed by the NNA condemning a rumoured tax on vaping in the UK, this month trade association UKVIA received assurance from the Treasury confirming that there are no plans to introduce such a retrograde step in the budget.

Some might say that an anonymous Treasury source quoted in the media should have been ignored, but politics is a dirty business and it wouldn’t be the first time an absurd policy has been flown in the press to gauge reaction. Responding forcefully was a politically-expedient exercise to make it clear to government that any such tax threat will be opposed vigorously. You can read our updated press release on this issue here.

There is still the spectre of vaping being sucked into the EU Tax Directive though, and the consultation ends in only a matter of days on September 3rd. It is important – if you have not already done so – that you send a message to the EU that this is not acceptable. You can find everything you need to know in order to respond to the consultation by clicking here.

SHOP FRONT-LINE

Just this week, the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT) released an advisory report on how stop smoking services should collaborate with local vape shops to encourage smokers to switch to e-cigarettes. The guidance was produced in co-operation with the NNA and the IBVTA trade association and is a pragmatic step in assisting stop smoking services to meet people where they are at in their quit attempt, something the NNA has consistently recommended.

You can read its advice by clicking here.

LONDON CALLING

The London Vape Show took place last weekend and the NNA took part in a Speaker’s Corner event there to discuss political and advocacy issues with vapers. It took the form of two panel debates on the Saturday and Sunday. Sarah Jakes took to the stage on the Saturday to give opinions on subjects as diverse as vape taxes, public space bans and global policy towards harm reduction, while Martin Cullip fielded questions on Sunday on an equally diverse range including the future for risk reduced products in the UK post-Brexit and public perception of vaping.

Speakers Corner panel eventSarah Jakes, John Dunne, Daniel Pryor and Christopher Snowdon at the Speakers Corner panel debate at the London Vape Show

 

 IN WITH THE NEW

Sadly, former trustees Andy Morrison and John Summers have left us this month for personal reasons but will remain as associates to help with areas in which they have unique expertise. However, we are delighted to welcome new trustees Louise Ross and Bernice Evans.

Louise was formerly head of Leicester stop smoking services and is a staunch supporter of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid. She is currently helping with a video to kick off an Irish Swaptober campaign. Watch this space.

Bernice is formerly of Vapers in Power and was heavily involved in garnering publicity for vapers standing in general and regional elections when the rights of vapers to speak out politically was unclear. We are very pleased to have both on board.

TOMORROW'S NEWS TODAY

Not much can be said about it yet, but we have been in talks on the possibility of a new NNA branch in another EU member state to complement NNA Sweden and NNA Estonia within Europe, along with our well-established sister NNA organisation fighting hard for legalisation of vaping in Australia. We hope to have more on this new development soon.

Coming months promise to be equally busy for the NNA. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control’s COP8 meeting is planned for the start of October and will see the launch of an important report written by Harry Shapiro on behalf of Knowledge Action Change. Paddy Costall, Gerry Stimson and Jessica Harding will also be travelling to Geneva for the event, as will Martin Cullip. Martin will also be speaking at two panel debates at Conservative Party conference at the start of October.

More on all those snippets in next month’s round-up.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?

Please remember that NNA trustees give their time for free, and we rely on your generous donations to continue to ensure consumer voices are heard. Please keep your donations coming in via the donate button below, and if you can commit to a standing order or regular PayPal payment it would be gratefully received.

Donate to NNA button


July 2018 will be remembered for a thrilling World Cup coupled with a tremendous summer, but NNA representatives still spent many hours away from sun-loungers and couches in front of the TV. Here are some highlights from the past month.

TAXING TIMES


Last month we encouraged supporters to take part in an EU consultation on the proposal to tax vaping products. We are proud to join with consumer organisations from all over Europe with this initiative, and this month we set up a resources page to give you all the information you need to make your voice heard in Brussels. If you haven’t already done so, we would urge you to add your name to those opposing such a counter-productive and potentially damaging policy by responding to the consultation.

Vaping magazines Vapouround and Vapelyfe have endorsed the campaign, and – mirroring a common approach from consumer and industry seen in other EU states - one of the UK’s two trade associations, the UKVIA, has also lent their full support, informing their considerable membership and publicising our web page via their social media channels.

You can find everything you need to know in order to respond to the consultation by clicking here.

DON'T STOP BE-LEAVING


This month also saw another visit to Westminster to advise MPs from a consumer point of view, this time on the issue of vaping post-Brexit. NNA Chair Sarah Jakes took part in a discussion at the All-Party Parliamentary Group on E-cigarettes as to the implications for risk-reduced products once the UK leaves the EU.

Parliamentarians wanted to understand the current impact of EU regulations, along with enquiring as to which sections should be changed and how to best go about it. Sarah emphasised many areas where the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive has got it wrong with regulating e-cigarettes including the rules on nicotine strength, size of bottles and tanks, prohibition of advertising, promotions and health claims, and the absurdity of warnings on some products.

We were encouraged that the MPs present were receptive to our evidence and understand which areas require correcting once we leave the EU. You can read our thoughts on how the meeting went in our blog article here.

DOWN BUT NOT OUT


This month also saw an NNA delegation meeting with NHS experts on how to improve accessibility of harm reduction products for homeless populations.

Paddy Costall, David MackIntosh and Sairah Salim-Sartoni covered a lot of ground in the London meeting and emphasised that NNA and its supporters could be help with solutions to the challenges that homeless smokers face. Sairah’s experience as a former vape-friendly stop smoking services professional fits well with the NHS’s outlook and she spoke of the possibility of obtaining some low-cost, or ideally free, kits which could be helpful for trialling schemes in certain areas. One of the key factors which deters homeless smokers from trying alternatives is the initial cost. Our team also promised to facilitate putting the NHS in touch with their counterparts in the US where experimental projects in this policy area are already being proposed. We are pleased to be contributing our knowledge to authorities tasked with helping some of the most vulnerable in society.

SEE WHAT THEY DID THERE?


Our monitoring of web traffic on harm reduction uncovered a worrying initiative by pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, this month. Pfizer are manufacturers of competing products to harm reduction alternatives such as e-cigarettes and snus, so we were alarmed to see that they are funding research “Addressing Education Related to Smoking Cessation and Tobacco Harm Reduction” while appearing to lead the researchers to conclude harm reduction is not effective as part of the award criteria. Imagine the outrage if a tobacco or vaping company were to attempt the same methods.

We consider this to be unethical, so we wrote an open letter to Pfizer expressing our concerns. They have since replied to say that they are removing the Call for Grant Applications (CGA) entry from their page whilst they “ensure accuracy and appropriateness” and that they will give us a detailed response in due course. We have not yet received this and, also, note that the emailed link to the CGA page is still active. Watch this space for updates because we are quite prepared to pursue the matter further if need be.

REPORTING ON NNA


Tobacco Reporter published a long-form interview with NNA Chair, Sarah Jakes, this month, which we were permitted to reproduce on our blog. Entitled “No Smoker Left Behind”, the article portrayed Sarah in forthright mode insisting that all potentially helpful nicotine alternative products be allowed to flourish, a mantra that the NNA exists to promote.

You can read Sarah’s frank discussion about the financial difficulties the NNA encounters (donate here), anti-harm reduction junk science, problems with EU regulations, how much she spends on home-mixed e-liquid, that speech and much more, by clicking here.

POSTER BOASTER


The NNA published a poster at GFN in Warsaw with background on how we came to challenge the EU snus ban at the ECJ. It garnered much interest at the venue and we have now published it on the website. A preview is below, just click on the buttton to enlarge and download it.

NNAPoster

Poster on the ECJ legal challenge to the snus ban presented at GFN in Warsaw

DOWNLOAD FULL POSTER

TOMORROW'S NEWS TODAY


Coming months promise to be equally busy for the NNA. The UK Parliament's Science and Technology Committee report was expected to be published in late July, but the date of release has now been announced as 17th August. Once it becomes available, we will be sure to publicise it on our site and social media channels, as well as offer our thoughts on the committee’s recommendations.

The full decision in the ECJ snus case is imminent too. The advisory note from the Advocate General was not promising but the case is not closed until the final decision is published. It is a long shot, but we still hope the EC will see sense and that a ban which we have described as “a crime against public health” will be revisited.

Lastly, we are compiling a letter to the Scottish government regarding their confused and flawed Tobacco Control Plan which our Scottish lead, Andy Morrison, described as “schizophrenic” towards vaping. Politicians north and south of Hadrian’s Wall are on their holidays now but we will be following up our published response by asking questions of ministers in due course.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP?


Please remember that NNA trustees give their time for free, and we rely on your generous donations to continue to ensure consumer voices are heard. Please keep your donations coming in via the donate button below, and if you can commit to a standing order or regular PayPal payment it would be gratefully received.

DONATE TO NNA

 

June was relatively quiet for the NNA with many trustees, associates and supporters converging on Warsaw for the fifth Global Forum on Nicotine, but there is still plenty to report. Here are just some of our activities in the past month.

Sliding into the news
Caitlin Notley of the University of East Anglia attracted a large amount of media attention in June with a study entitled “The unique contribution of e-cigarettes for tobacco harm reduction in supporting smoking relapse prevention”. The NNA helped with the study, which was recognised in the acknowledgements. In particular, the revelation that many smokers ‘slide’ into e-cigarette use without ever intending to – the accidental quitter phenomenon of which many of you will be well aware – gained column inches with both The Sun and Daily Mail reporting on how “vaping helps smokers quit even if they don’t want to”. Medical Express also carried the story and it went worldwide with articles in other countries such as France and Spain. We regularly emphasise to public health researchers that consumers such as the NNA should be involved in their studies to better understand the motivations of those who choose to use risk reduced nicotine products. This heightened media interest shows that taking such an approach can help researchers accurately reflect the nicotine market and, consequently, gain wider recognition.

Axe the tax

Act now for newsletter
We may be leaving the EU (or maybe not, who knows?) but the NNA has been happy to add our support to an initiative working towards blocking an EU-wide tax on vaping products. The French consumer group SOVAPE has started a petition inviting vapers and other interested EU citizens to “Act now to stop the EU vape tax”, to which we are proud to lend our complete support, along with sixteen of the other EU consumer associations. At time of writing the petition has attracted around 8,000 signatures, so please sign it and share widely on social media channels.   Let's send the message to the EU that taxation of products which are helping many people to switch from combustible tobacco is not acceptable.

You can access the petition by clicking here.

The consultation itself takes only around ten minutes to complete and we would urge you to respond to it, you can find it here:

Public consultation on excise duties applied to manufactured tobacco and the possible taxation of novel products 

 

Voicing on vapour
Vapour Voice and Vapouround magazines both featured articles on different aspects of harm reduction in June, and trustee Martin Cullip was quoted in both. Vapour Voice carried an article on the foolishness of banning flavours, as San Francisco has recently done, and which threatens to spread across America. Martin pointed out that the dog whistle use of children to drive the debate does not consider that public health authorities regularly find adults and children like the same kind of foods, and that “The wide variety of flavours helps distance adult vapers from their former smoking experience, so it is irresponsible to obstruct that over a largely irrational moral panic.”. Later in the month Vapouround ran a piece on the harm reduction experience in Japan, Sweden and the UK. Martin highlighted that there are different strokes for different folks and that a plethora of products should be made available. “One harm-reduced product or one type of harm-reduced product just won’t cut it,” he said. “That would be like asking everyone who likes a tipple to just drink beer”. You can view the latest issue of Vapour Voice here and of Vapouround here.

Polished in Poland
As mentioned last month, NNA representatives were prominent at the Global Forum on Nicotine, held in Warsaw in mid-June. Sarah Jakes’ plenary presentation has been published on our blog here along with Martin Cullip’s introductory remarks prior to a plenary debate about who we should trust in the nicotine debate, which you can read here. We also published our overall thoughts on the event here and displayed a poster to delegates on the snus case on which we intervened. You can view videos of the filmed sessions at this YouTube link.

 

Who can we trust for newsletter

Louise Ross, Derek Yach and Martin Cullip at the "Who can we trust?"plenary debate at the GFN

Parrots mean prizes
This year’s GFN featured a film festival for the first time and we are thrilled to report that the NNA had a hand in the winning entry. The National Centre for Smoking Cessation Training (NCSCT) produced a humorous film in April entitled “Passive Vaping: A guide for parrots” in partnership with the NNA. The film won the ultimate accolade of Best Film at the festival, with the award being collected by NNA Chair Sarah Jakes and NNA associate Louise Ross. Best Director and Best New Director awards were won by a crowd-funded film led by French consumer organisation Aiduce and a film student from the UK respectively. You can view the winning film at the NCSCT’s YouTube channel here.

Best Film award

Louise Ross and Sarah Jakes collecting the Best Film award from Aaron Biebert

Ask the experts
NNA trustee Andy Morrison has taken part in many research programmes in the last few years, including research with CRUK and Oxford University and has now taken on a role of mentor in a new study on harm reduction opportunities for the homeless.
Researchers have found that their efforts are often not as successful as expected in this field. They have previously used inappropriate equipment for people switching from smoking to vaping, and not paid enough attention to the needs and motivations of smokers wishing to quit. Andy will be contributing his expertise to a feasibility study into the use of electronic nicotine devices with homeless populations in Dublin, in particular advising on the appropriate kit to recommend and the way to best incentivise differing options. This is important research and we are pleased that Andy has been invited to give the all-too-often overlooked vapers' perspective.

Sense and the city
NNA trustee David MacIntosh writes a regular blog for City Health International – a movement looking at making structural improvements to ecological health in city environments – and has this to say about tobacco harm reduction options in his latest contribution:

“Over the last few years we have seen a new phenomenon emerge, vaping. This is arguably one of the greatest contributions to reducing smoking we have seen in many years and, with the honourable exceptions of Public Health England and a few far sighted individual areas and practitioners, it has occurred outside the realm of traditional tobacco control. While there are other tobacco harm reduction products with an impressive pedigree, look at the Swedish experience of snus (and please do look this up), this is geographically limited to Scandinavia. Vaping is a global phenomenon which has unsettled the established order."


You can read the whole article at the City Health website here.

Tomorrow’s news today
The UK Parliament's Science and Technology Committee report is expected to be published in late July. Sarah Jakes gave evidence to the proceedings alongside trade bodies the UKVIA and IBVTA. Sarah urged politicians to redouble their commitment towards harm reduction, and to build on the convincing evidence of the benefits of risk-reduced nicotine products, especially with Brexit on the horizon. We hope that the committee has taken our comments on board and are optimistic that the report will be positive.
This isn’t the end of the NNA’s involvement in Westminster. The All Party Parliamentary Group on E-cigarettes will be holding its next meeting about vaping regulation post-Brexit on July 11th, and NNA Chair Sarah Jakes will be speaking at the event. We will be sure to let you know how it goes so keep an eye on the blog.
Additionally, trustee John Summers has been elected onto the board of the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations (INNCO) as their treasurer. The NNA has had great success in the UK and we are very pleased that John is on board to help advise on how good practice can lead to favourable results in other jurisdictions as well.

 John Nancy and Kim for newsletter

John Summers with INNCO's Nancy Sutthoff and Kim Dabelstein

What can you do to help?
Please remember that NNA trustees give their time for free, and we rely on your generous donations to continue to ensure consumer voices are heard. Please keep your donations coming in via the donate button below, and if you can commit to a standing order or regular PayPal payment it would be gratefully received.

 Donate here to help keep NNA going

 

May has been another busy month for the NNA, here are just some of the activities we have been getting involved in on behalf of consumers.

Truth to power
The UK Parliament's Science and Technology Committee held another oral evidence session for their e-cigarettes inquiry on the afternoon of 9th May, and Sarah Jakes spoke for the NNA on the panel. She was accompanied in giving evidence by representatives of the two main UK trade bodies, John Dunne of the UKVIA and Fraser Cropper of IBVTA. Sarah was forthright in urging the seven MPs present to show further leadership, not complacency, towards harm reduction, and to build on evidence as to the public health benefits of risk-reduced nicotine alternatives.

With Brexit fast approaching, Sarah made it quite clear that abandoning the pointless regulations imposed by the TPD would be a big step forward for the UK and perfectly in keeping with the government’s latest Tobacco Control Plan. Various reports of the day praised Sarah for her performance and we were pleased that she could represent your advocacy group in the heart of Westminster directly addressing MPs. You can read our report on the day here and watch the full hearing at Parliament TV here and on YouTube here.

 Outside the Palace of Westminster

       Sarah Jakes with John Dunne and Fraser Cropper after giving testimony to MPs at the Science and Technology Committee

WHO do they think they are?
The World Health Organisation held a quickfire consultation on non-communicable diseases between the 10th and 16th of May and the NNA decided it was a perfect opportunity to put forward the case for safer nicotine alternatives. You can read our submission here. We argued that tobacco harm reduction has been neglected in international tobacco control and urged the WHO to engage with civil societies and consumers to help achieve the goals they have set for themselves.

Imagine our surprise, then, when we found that our response had been relegated to a sub-heading of “feedback received from entities with which WHO does not engage”. We contacted the WHO to ask why they inexplicably excluded a charity consumer association from proposing reasonable ideas, but they have still not had the decency to reply.

We felt this was a gross abuse of authority on the part of the WHO and will be raising the matter with authorities in the UK. You can read our account of how the WHO’s juvenile behaviour has failed to adhere to its own articles and previously stated declarations here.

We also criticised the WHO’s latest World No Tobacco Day for not including any mention of vaping or other harm reduction methods in its global publicity. We felt this was a missed opportunity and issued a press release to that effect which has been picked up by some media with more to come. You can read our press release here

Down the tube
There have been worrying happenings on YouTube with many vape reviewers reporting that their videos are being censored and – in some cases – their accounts being shut down with scant right of appeal. NNA trustee Martin Cullip wrote an article for Spiked highlighting how this purge of vaping content poses a sinister threat to free speech online.

It is worth noting that the NNA successfully fought for the right of vape reviewers to continue to offer insight and guidance for consumers when there was a threat to include them in the TPD’s ban on marketing across borders, otherwise they could have been banned already. Martin argued that these efforts could be wasted if YouTube can bypass democratic process and censor reviews on the back of baseless moral panicking.

It is not restricted to YouTube either, nor is it confined to product reviews. The NNA routinely suffers publicity being pulled from Google for daring to mention anything related to quitting smoking. Despite being trusted to present to government committees in the UK, on social media the same tobacco harm reduction arguments are increasingly forbidden. You can read Martin’s article at Spiked  here

Expo enthusiasm
The NNA had a presence at Vaper Expo in Birmingham at the start of the month and became somewhat popular for our “considerate vaping welcome” stickers. Our stand in the meet and greet area attracted great interest over the weekend and we handed out hundreds of the stickers to grateful vapers and vendors. By the Sunday there was barely a stall in the venue which didn’t have a few of them on display somewhere.

Along with a journalist from the Guardian, Neil H from Ecigclick also came to have a chat to us and later wrote about the impact our stickers were having post-Expo. You can read his excellent account – along with plenty of pictures and a tub-thumping tie-in to the World Cup – by clicking here.

The team of Jessica Harding, Andy Morrison, John Summers, Martin Cullip and Sue Wilson also spoke to an eclectic range of interested visitors over the weekend, and not only vaping consumers. Vendors from diverse areas from the north right down to Jersey in the Channel Islands popped by, and we even spoke to a delegate planning to hold an expo in Australia! Now wouldn’t that be worth keeping an eye out for?

We would like to give a huge thank you to the Vaper Expo organisers for giving us the stand and for making us so welcome.

Canada try
Last month, NNA trustee and director of GFN Paddy Costall held a dialogue in Vancouver to discuss harm reduction and the increased interest from the Canadian legislature. He encountered several problems when faced with ideological objections, some of which were libellous and shameful, and I’m sure that we will hear more about it in the future. However, the event went ahead, and Paddy was interviewed by Regulator Watch where he spoke favourably of Canada’s approach and how consumer-based initiatives could have lasting positive consequences. You can watch the five minute interview here:

Paddy Costall Reg Watch

Torn from the USA
Yesterday, NNA Chair Sarah Jakes and former Chair Gerry Stimson addressed a delegation of US congressional representatives in London’s Grafton Hotel. The ‘fact finding’ visit was arranged by R Street Institute and delegates were staff from both the US Senate and House of Representatives and evenly split between those working for Democrats and Republicans, looking to be better informed about issues surrounding harm reduction in a number of areas. The previous day TV’s Dr Christian Jessen had been invited to speak to them at the House of Lords so the NNA is in good company.

Dr Christian

Gerry spoke first and explained the history of harm reduction in the illicit drug and HIV world, and how it translates into tobacco harm reduction, emphasising the importance of consumer and industry in having driven the success the UK has enjoyed in recent years. Sarah followed by explaining why and how the NNA was formed, what we do, what we have accomplished and why we do it from a consumer point of view, and why choice, variety, innovation and autonomy are important to consumers. The presentation was well-received, and we hope that our input may help vapers on the other side of the Atlantic.

SSS in the SW
Also yesterday, stop smoking services adviser and NNA trustee Sairah Salim-Sartoni visited South Gloucestershire to assist several groups tasked with assisting smokers amongst mental health populations. Sairah is supporting South Gloucestershire stop smoking services in designing an e-cigarette voucher system – in partnership with local vape shops - to provide starter kits to those who might be wary of investing meagre resources on equipment that might not suit. She was well-received by representatives of Bristol University, Trading Standards, and a healthy number of wellbeing groups.

Tomorrow’s news today
June is looking to be an equally busy month for the NNA. In Scotland, Andy Morrison is in the process of embarking on a study with Oxford Universities that NNA were asked to assist with and preliminary paperwork has been completed. We hope to report more on this as it progresses.

And lastly, the fifth Global Forum on Nicotine begins in Warsaw on the 14th June with NNA again being represented. Sarah Jakes will be presenting on “Rethinking why people like nicotine” while Martin Cullip will be debating “Who can we trust? Evidence and promises”, both on Friday the 15th. NNA associate Clive Bates will also be hosting a discussion entitled “Rethinking nicotine, where to next?”, Andy Morrison will be giving reflections on the conference in the closing session, and we are proud that former Chair of the NNA, Professor Gerry Stimson, is presenting the Michael Russell Award this year.

Keep visiting the NNA site for more about Warsaw in coming weeks plus further news at the end of June.

Time is money
May has been another very busy month with many NNA trustees giving their time for free, as you can see. We need your support to carry on doing so. Please keep your donations coming in via the donate button below, and if you can commit to a standing order or regular PayPal payment it would be gratefully received.

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