Hi just a quick apology in advance I'm not a very confident public speaker, my skill set lies elsewhere, but we're going to give this a go and Martin Cawley you're going to be busy after this, you're going to get a lot of people coming up to you because I'm a Scotsman and they're going to be saying to you “What the hell has he just said?”. Anyway, so back to the conference: I have to be honest when Paddy told me what the strapline for this conference was going to be, “rethinking nicotine” I was really really disappointed because I thought I knew everything there was to know about nicotine, and I've been proved utterly wrong. I've learnt so much from this conference and I'm grateful that they actually used that strapline. It really should be crystal clear to everyone now if it wasn't already that way beforehand that nicotine is not the problem, it's a very very big part of the solution. So I've rethought nicotine.
What's important now for me as a consumer is what you guys do when you leave here, as groups or as individuals. A lot of people are rightly looking to the UK as being a good place for harm reduction, particularly in this field but again, being a Scotsman we don't particularly like the UK and we've got a little saying that says “we're daein well but we're no daein great”. I'll translate that into English for you: “We’re doing very well but we're not doing brilliantly”.
So, I've just got a few messages here really for various sectors:
Tobacco companies: you’re very much still under the microscope from a consumer point of view. You're turning the heads and you’re doing the right things - you are heading in the right direction. However this is one of the latest devices - I won't say who it's made by - you are not getting it right, you are not talking to vapers.
This thing spits, leaks, gurgles all over the place. You need to speak to more vapers.
This thing spits, leaks, gurgles all over the place
E-liquid industry: we've got a real problem here with branding, IP theft, stuff like that and - this is thanks to my good colleague John Summers basically - this is a layer of s*** that we as advocates would rather not have to deal with and it's totally unnecessary, so sort yourselves out."
Public health: you need to do more, you need to look to the likes of Public Health England, you need to talk to Martin Dockrell and we really do need more from you. You get it and you're in a position of power, you can actually do something about it.
Stop smoking services: well a little story. I went to some of my local stop smoking services and I was appalled when I went in there and I asked a simple question: “ What do you do when a guy comes in and asks about electronic cigarettes?” and the response was “We can't help them”, more less, “ We can't help them”. I said to them “Well what do you do, throw them out the door?” and they said “Well no, we try to steer them down different routes, and so forth”. I said “Could you maybe send them to me, and I’ll give them a NNA business card?” and they said “No we won't do that, we refuse to do that”. You are just not doing the job, you are letting people down, it's shocking. My message to you is to be brave, look to Louise, the vaper’s and smoker’s angel.
Tobacco control: junk scientists that you employ and deploy, ultimately onto the media. We are sick of it. We are sick of the lies. We are sick of all the garbage that you spout out. Why don't youse look to Farsalinos first, get his opinion before this garbage gets into the press? Because, again, you are killing people, you're putting people off, please stop it.
Researchers: Professor Linda Bauld, who is unfortunately not with us this year, she came to me a couple of years ago and I was amazed at what she asked me to do: “Could you help us with a study?” and I said “Yes”. They listened to us, they listened to the vapers. Not only that, her researchers came to me and said “Teach me how to vape”. I was shocked, utterly utterly shocked at this- not only did they want me to show them to do it, they wanted to experience it. That is good research.
We then took it on - it was a really really difficult study to do - we were going into elderly people's homes where we had one researcher, one vaper - experienced vaper. I put together a team of about a dozen vapers and we split the job up between us. These people had an awful lot of underlying health problems and a lot of them were elderly. And one that stuck out for me was one that ….. we went through the process of taking through the different nicotine levels and the different flavours to try and find one that suited them. And we were always asked by the researcher “How do we think these guys are going to get on?” So while we were going through the levels of nicotine and you could see the face lighting up every now and again as we went up through the nicotine levels. We got to 18mg which is the limit in the EU at the moment - it’s not 20 mg by the way it’s 18, don’t fall into that trap because they won’t make 20mg nicotine, for fear of being done by trading standards and so forth. Anyway, we got to 18mg and he was just about getting there and he says “Yeah that's great” and I thought “You're not going to make it with that”, and knowing that I had in my pocket this little bottle here which is 24 milligrams, would have tipped him over the edge and sure enough I gave him a 65% chance of getting through the course, he didn't make it he relapsed back to smoking. It's shocking that I couldn't pull that out, it was heartbreaking, it was soul destroying that I had this in my pocket and I could not give it to him. That is wrong, I'm sorry to say it but that is so wrong, that needs to be sorted.
Consumers and advocates: stop the infighting, please. Your device is no better than anyone else's device. Heat not burn is there, it’s there to stay. Focus on the big picture - you are losing direction here - please stop the in fighting and get on with the job in hand.
Well, I think that's my five minutes up, just about. I was going to have a go at pharma but that can wait for another day. Thanks very much for listening.
Watch Andy from 27 minutes in