The NNA's busy year
2016 has been a lively year for tobacco harm reduction and, as you’d expect, the NNA has been extremely busy. This post can’t detail all that we’ve been involved with but we hope here to give you a flavour of our year. There is still much work to do going into 2017 and we are very grateful to all of you who have helped us to get this far: whether by signing up as a supporter, by sharing our posts, giving us advice, donating money or a stand at an expo. We simply cannot do what we do without your help. Thank you. No matter what skill set you have you can be an asset to the NNA, so please drop us a line if you can help.
Last minute victory in Wales
The Public Health (Wales) bill sought to ban the use of e-cigarettes in public spaces so we were delighted when the bill was defeated in March. The NNA, along with other groups and many scientists, had opposed the measure since it was first proposed two years previously. The sinking of the bill was a victory for NNA trustee Simon Thurlow and colleagues’ hard work - and a victory for common sense.
NNA Scotland is, quite possibly, too busy. Fortunately NNA trustee Andy Morrison’s load should be a lot lighter in 2017 because he’s now been joined by new associates Jamie Hollywood, Lorna Strachan and Robert Innes.
Andy was involved in organising the very successful Glasgow School of Vape 3. The day built on the previous Glasgow School of Vape events, bringing smokers,vapers and vendors together so that they could learn from one another. Other invitees this time included people from public health and stop smoking services and researchers from Glasgow and Stirling universities.
The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation study: a study designed to identify the role that e-cigarettes can play in helping people who continue to smoke after a lung cancer diagnosis. Andy and a small group of e-cigarette users are assisting the researchers with home visits to see patients and offer ongoing support through the study. Andy is now assisting with a cardiovascular study too, organised along much the same lines as the Roy Castle one.
Scottish Parliament Event at Holyrood. A discussion about e-cigarettes and individual and public health. This was organised by the NNA and chaired by trustee Gerry Stimson. The panel featured Sheila Duffy (ASH Scotland), Dr Christopher Russell (Centre for Drug Misuse Research, Glasgow), Professor Linda Bauld (Stirling University),NNA patron Steve Christie, Mike MacKenzie (MSP), NNA trustee Paddy Costall and an audience of public health, vapers and vendors. The event was very lively and informative.
Ensuring that vapers have a voice in the ongoing debate: Andy is in regular communication with Sheila Duffy (ASH Scotland) and NHS Glasgow and Clyde and has a positive ongoing dialogue with MSPs and other representatives too.
Andy also assists university students and academics on various projects enhancing their understanding of e-cigs and the politics surrounding their use.
A Billion Lives: Andy organised and presented at the UK premier of A Billion Lives in Glasgow, in October. This was well attended by press, public health and vapers.
The Department of Health and the MHRA
NNA trustees have attended various meetings with the Department of Health and the MHRA this year. Meetings centred on the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations and the WHO FCTC COP7. We followed up the Department of Health round table meeting in March with a written submission on the unintended consequences of vaping regulation, written by NNA associate Clive Bates (Counterfactual Consulting).
NNA trustees have also been very engaged with local stop smoking services, in various parts of the country.
Consultations and briefings
January saw the publication of the excellent NCSCT briefing on electronic cigarettes for stop smoking services, which had been reviewed by NNA trustees Sarah Jakes and Lorien Jollye.
The NCSCT has also asked the NNA to advise on and help disseminate some short videos on vaping, produced by the NCSCT for Public Health England. The first video is due to be released in January 2017 so please look out for it.
March: Sarah Jakes was appointed member of the NICE committee on guidance to stop smoking services.
September: The NNA responded to New Zealand's Ministry of Health on policy options for the regulation of e-cigarettes.
October: NNA response to the CAP/BCAP consultation on advertising
(Whilst on the subject of advertising - we had some good news in May when the Advertising Standards Authority upheld our complaint about a misleading anti-ecig advertisement)
December: EU consultation on excise duties applied to manufactured tobacco (translation: the EU wants to tax vaping). The NNA (with Clive Bates) has responded to this consultation and has written a briefing. Please do respond to the consultation yourself and consider saying that if reduced risk products (such as e-cigs) must be included then a zero rate duty should be allowed and that there should be a maximum rate set which reflects the very substantial difference in risk compared to smoked tobacco. You have until the 16th of February 2017 to make your feelings known.
Science & NNA
NNA trustees are advising on various studies, topics include: health professionals and their attitudes to e-cigs and NRT with cancer sufferers, the real world experiences of using e-cigs to avoid going back to smoking, the effects of e-cigs on people with stage 4 lung cancer and those suffering from COPD, effects of e-cigarettes on cardiovascular patients and a dentistry study.
All-Party Parliamentary group for E-Cigarettes
The NNA continued to be involved with the APPG this year.
Gerry Stimson and Lorien Jollye both spoke at the January meeting. Lorien focussed on the TRPR’s impact on smokers and new vapers and called for public health bodies to work together to mitigate the effects. In his presentation Gerry emphatically stated that all intervention, the TRPR included, should be judged against its contribution towards stopping smoking. Another of Gerry's key points was that “vapers and vape shops are the new front line in smoking cessation”.
Sarah Jakes presented at the recent December meeting and focussed on the challenges which consumers now face, both as a result of the TRPR and the poor press coverage of vaping.
Conferences and debates
April: Royal Society for Public Health, Vaping in the Workplace
Lorien participated in this panel debate. This led to RSPH reposting Sarah’s The Pleasure Principle Post onto their own site. Our own website nnalliance.org received a welcome facelift in February. Content is updated regularly, so do check back often.
The Global Forum on Nicotine took place in Warsaw in June. Most NNA trustees attended and were very involved, either through chairing panels or speaking.
July was busy for Lorien; she spoke at the Regulation of Pleasure panel debate at the Royal Society of Medicine and also participated in the Public Health England / Cancer Research UK symposium “A new era for tobacco harm reduction”.
The E-Cigarette Summit, November
Andy Morrison and Sarah Jakes attended. Sarah was on the panel which discussed Communicating Research & Evidence.
The NNA was very fortunate to have been represented at the major events this year. It was really good to meet so many of our friends and supporters at them.
The Vape Jam UK organisers gave the NNA and Vapers in Power a stand and also very kindly donated the proceeds of their raffle to us. NNA trustee Dave Dorn gave a rousing presentation, you can watch it here
Vapefest: Andy and Jamie represented the NNA, sharing a tent with ViP again, and had a good time meeting up with old faces - and lots of new ones too.
Vaper Expo: the NNA shared a stand with VTTV. Andy and Dave gave a fantastic presentation
The Vaper Expo organisers gave us a very generous donation too, money which we will put to very good use.
Thanks to a friend and supporter of NNA, Chinese e-cigarette manufacturer Innokin heard about the NNA’s work with stop smoking services and wanted to help. We do not take donations from anyone in the nicotine industries, so the best way for Innokin to help would be to help stop smoking services help smokers to stop smoking. This though is not as simple as it should be, because currently there are no medicinally licensed ecigs on the market which stop smoking services could prescribe, and it's likely that any that do gain medicinal authority will be bland cousins compared to those on the consumer market.
NNA and the media
Sarah’s "Vapers Just Wanna Have Fun" article was published in Spiked in March.
After the release of the landmark report from the Royal College of Physicians in April, trustees David Dorn and Sarah Jakes made media appearances. David participated in a show on BBC Newcastle, and Sarah Jakes was involved in the Victoria Derbyshire show alongside Professor John Britton and Joanna Miller, a Stop Smoking Services professional.
You can read our full statement on the Royal College of Physicians report here
We were sorry that Alan Beard felt it was time to step down as Trustee. We were very grateful for the help he had provided to NNA.
We are delighted that Dr Heather Morgan has joined us as our newest trustee and also very pleased to announce that Andrew RT Davies, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, will be joining the NNA as patron.
We’ve recently appointed a part time administrator, to take the pressure off our overworked trustees. This should lead us into an even busier year in 2017.
It’s wonderful that our list of supporters has doubled this year - but we always need more. It costs nothing to sign up as a NNA supporter and the more supporters we have the more influential we can be. You can sign up here and please consider asking your family and friends to sign up too.