It is with great satisfaction that we read this new report from a source so widely respected as the Royal College of Physicians*. The past two years have seen a slew of ill-considered and poorly conducted research hit the headlines regarding vaping and there can be no doubt that the perception of both smokers and non-smokers will have been impacted regards the relative harms of vaping vs smoking. This report should go some-way to redressing that balance as it makes clear that the benefits of e-cigarette use has not only been positive but has helped many smokers move away from combustible cigarettes. More importantly that smokers have done this under their own steam and without intervention or cost to the tax-payer.
We hope that Public Health organisations and governments across the globe will see this, alongside last year’s Public Health England report, and use it to inform their treatment of e-cigarettes and recognise the importance of treating them as different from their burnt counterparts. In the UK alone there are 9 million smokers who deserve to be told the truth about alternative nicotine delivery devices such as e-cigarettes. Trustee and board member, Lorien Jollye says ‘The evidence is quite clearly telling us that not only are e-cigs safer than smoking but they are helping smokers. Knee-jerk fearmongering has to be put to bed and smokers need to be empowered to switch’.
With the implementation of the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive looming, it is imperative that moves are made to see a review of this legislation enacted as soon as is possible. It is becoming more and more clear that the heavy restrictions on devices, nicotine strengths, and the ability for companies to actually market to their target audience is going to cost lives. This is far from the ‘light touch regulation’ the public was told it was.
The RCP report is unequivocal in its support for smokers being encouraged to switch their habit to one which carries, at most, a mere 5% of the risk. On a subject as serious as this we need to be guided by evidence and not ideology and as such The New Nicotine Alliance applauds the RCP for this timely review.
*Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians. Nicotine without smoke—tobacco harm reduction. Royal College of Physicians, 2016.
Ok, vapers reading this will know that that is the pre-watershed version of that particular rallying cry..
Thanks to a friend and supporter of NNA, Chinese e-cigarette manufacturer Innokin heard about NNAs 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. Even 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.
Andy Morrison, lead for the NNA in Scotland, is assisting with a new study funded by the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation (RCLCF) exploring e-cigarettes for smoking cessation with lung cancer patients.
I had a win at work today. In fact we all had a win! Acceptance and recognition of e-cigs as being normal use devices in care homes.
While on my days off I had a message from my manager saying she'd had to do risk assessments for those residents that use electronic cigarettes and that she could have done with my help. I told her that I would look through them when I get back at the weekend. However, I decided to create one for her to look at and asked admin to send me a blank.
The New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) is a registered charity, formed in 2014, which seeks to foster a mature public and organisational understanding of the potential of safer nicotine products for reducing cigarette smoking, including their safety and efficacy, and hence contribute to the reduction in cigarette smoking. To achieve this we work to:
NNA seeks an effective regulatory environment for nicotine delivery devices, which protects the public, but also ensures availability of effective devices.
NNA is non-political and no activities are to the benefit of or in support to any political party. We are completely independent of commercial interests in relevant industries (e-cigarettes, tobacco, pharmaceutical companies, etc) operating on a not-for-profit basis, free from commercial bias. Our policies and public statements are evidence-based, with a clear focus on the health of consumers and the wider public.
A board comprised of volunteers manages NNA. In addition we involve individuals and organisations — consumers, tobacco researchers, policy analysts, public health professionals and scientists, as well as members of the public - who will support and further our aims and objectives.
NNA seeks to influence policy and the regulatory framework, as well as informing the public, concerning new nicotine products through:
NNA provides regular updates to supporters about our work and posts news items, blogs and other information on the websitewww.nnalliance.org
Download this statement as a PDF or come visit us at Vape Jam 2 2016, Stand P65!
The NNA welcomes the news that Welsh Labour attempts to ban the use of eCigarettes in enclosed public spaces has failed. The NNA has opposed this draconian measure, which formed part of the wider Public Health (Wales) Bill, since it was first drawn to our attention two years ago. The news means that there will be no restriction of the use of eCigarettes in public enclosed spaces for the forseeable future.
The 16th March 2016 will be seen as the day the Welsh Assembly finally saw sense and opposed the plans to ban vaping, albeit in somewhat bizarre circumstances. We have been continually puzzled by Health Minister Mark Drakeford’s failure to acknowledge all the science and evidence throughout the process and his insistence on pushing ahead with the ban. There were many good things contained within the Public Health (Wales) Bill, but the ban on vaping in public enclosed spaces was not one of them and simply did not belong in the Bill.
Ultimately, the Health Minister has sacrificed an otherwise beneficial Public Health (Wales) Bill on the altar of his personal misunderstanding and vendetta against eCigarettes.He only has himself to blame for the outcome.
We would like to thank the opposition political parties of Wales for continuing to engage with us on this matter throughout the passage of the Bill, for listening to the facts and science around eCigarettes, and for ultimately arriving at what we believe was the correct decision.
We also thank the Welsh Vaping community at large for it’s continuous support in campaigning against the eCig ban, and for the support from other groups such as Vapers in Power and Save eCigs.
Meanwhile, the fight continues in Wales. In Pembrokeshire, Councillors are attempting to impose a ban on smoking (which includes vaping) in the open air of Little Haven beach. Such ill-informed decisions cannot be allowed to remain unchallenged. There is little enough evidence that smoking has any impact on people in the open air. It is therefore patently outrageous that vaping should be looked at in the same light. If nothing else, vaping should be encouraged in places such as Little Haven, not least as an alternative to smoking for the smokers. If those smokers then choose to make the switch to vaping permanent then it is a win-win situation for Public Health.
We have shown that people power CAN make a difference and sent a message to all political parties that Vapers are a power to be reckoned with.
NNA Board Member
"I think this represents a new worldwide high point in the blending of evidence with empathy in official public health advice…"
Those were the words of Clive Bates on his excellent blog 'The Counterfactual' upon reading the new briefing for UK Stop Smoking Services from the National Centre for Smoking Cessation Training. We couldn't agree more.
Following an invitation from Nicola Hill, Stop Smoking Services Manager for the North East London NHS Foundation Trust, I attended their team meeting on the 19th of January to talk about e-cigarettes. In a refreshing change from my usual trog halfway across the country this one is local to me - it's good to see my local services finally taking an interest.
The meeting room was small, but packed with enthusiastic advisors from the two centres which provide services for NELFT. Discussions took place in a 'round table' setting, with me opening by telling the story of my journey from smoking to vaping, then explaining the different types of devices available and their use. There was then an opportunity for advisors to get 'hands on' with the demonstration devices I had brought with me before a lively Q & A ensued. I think we overran our allotted time by some considerable margin!
Some good questions were asked about a variety of topics, including the potential for harm to bystanders, youth uptake and long term use. On the whole the meeting was very positive, and I hope it was as enjoyable and useful for them as it was for me.
In a new study published in the journal Tobacco Control a group of scientists have examined how use of e-cigarettes is related to subsequent smoking behaviour, subsequently reporting that those who use e-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking cigarettes. This new study has once again garnered the attention of the media.
Everyone who attended the last Glasgow School of Vape agreed that it was a terrific event. There was something for everyone, from new vapers to experienced enthusiasts. Many of us have been badgering the organiser of the events to give us a repeat performance. Well that is about to happen and here are the details..........
NNA is seriously concerned at the lack of scientific rigour and absence of peer review of the paper ‘E-cigarettes and smoking cessation in real-world and clinical settings: a systematic review and meta-analysis’ published in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal. It makes assertions based on wildly unfounded assumptions drawn from data and serves only to heighten fears amongst smokers considering switching to the much safer practice of vaping.
We strongly recommend that everyone read the views on the piece expressed by a group of leading scientists published by the Science Media Centre - http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/expert-reaction-to-meta-analysis-looking-at-e-cigarette-use-and-smoking-cessation/
We believe the publication by the Lancet is irresponsible and not in the interests of either individual or public health.
A new study released in the January 2016 volume of Oral Oncology has garnered attention in the media. Unfortunately the attention it has garnered highlights several misleading points from the study leading to headlines in on-line media that will create a severely negative impression. After reading the study alongside the press releases, several things become abundantly clear.
After the E-Cigarette Summit and the Maudsley update of 2014 it was evident from the research presented that e-cigs were not only the chosen product that smokers were engaging with to help them become smokefree but we now had enough evidence to say that they were effective.
Report from National Assembly for Wales Health and Social Care Committee on Public Health (Wales) Bill
The NNA is disappointed to see, in the report released today, that the Welsh Health and Social Care Committee (http://www.assembly.wales/laid%20documents/cr-ld10456/cr-ld10456-e.pdf) has failed to make a concrete recommendation to remove the proposal to ban electronic cigarette use in enclosed public spaces from the Public Health (Wales) Bill. The lengthy content of the report clearly demonstrates the split in opinion between Labour and opposition AM’s despite overwhelming evidence against any proposed ban provided by the leading experts in the field of tobacco harm reduction. We will now watch the plenary debate on the 8th December with interest for possible amendments to the Bill.
No compelling evidence is put forward by the Welsh Government to proceed with the ban. The proposals relating to nicotine products will not contribute to improving public health in Wales – rather, the opposite.
Usage bans are not a matter for government, but for individual business and premises managers to decide for themselves whether to allow the use of e-cigarettes on their property. Smokers who wish to switch to safer products should be supported and encouraged to do so.
The Welsh Government aims to reduce smoking prevalence to 16% by 2020. This will not be achieved without embracing and supporting tobacco harm reduction products. Policies should ensure that those who choose to use e-cigarettes to help them quit are supported rather than prevented in their choice of how to quit smoking. Simon Thurlow, Trustee of NNA said ‘Bans act as a deterrent to those who wish to quit smoking by vaping, and stigmatises e-cigarette users in the same way that smokers are stigmatised’.
Why it is wrong to ban the use of e-cigarettes in public enclosed spaces
Smoke free legislation was enacted in order to protect employees and the public from the harmful effects of second hand smoke. With e-cigarettes there is no combustion and therefore no smoke. There is no evidence of any potential for harm to bystanders from e-cigarette use.
Compliance with existing smoke free legislation is high, and the use of e-cigarettes does not undermine this. E-cigarettes are easily distinguishable from tobacco cigarettes by appearance and smell. The general public is well acquainted with e-cigarettes and there is little chance of confusion by premises’ staff. The ability to use an e-cigarette where smoking is not permitted gives smokers a legal alternative and will assist in delivering greater compliance with smoke-free legislation.
Use of e-cigarettes differs from smoking tobacco cigarettes. Nicotine delivery is lower from e-cigarettes than tobacco cigarettes. A smoker will smoke an entire cigarette in a few minutes and then not again until nicotine levels have dropped. An e-cigarette user takes a few puffs every few minutes to keep nicotine levels up and prevent cravings. Forcing e-cigarette users to go outside to vape, where they will be among smokers and in time limited situations, may encourage them to relapse to smoking.
Sarah Jakes of NNA said ‘The ability to use e-cigarettes in enclosed public spaces is important in many smokers’ decision to try e-cigarettes, and leads many to switch completely. A ban discourages smokers from making the complete switch to the safer alternative’.
Contact: Simon Thurlow
30 Nov 2015
NNA1 is very concerned by the latest attempt by Jonathon Gornall, writing in the British Medical Journal2 , to undermine the report commissioned and published in August by Public Health England on the subject of e-cigarettes3.
There is no doubt that smoking is a harmful activity, however people smoke for the nicotine but die from the tar which is a by product of combustion. E-cigarettes and other harm reduced nicotine products have the potential to be a massive public health prize if smokers can be given the confidence to switch to them. In their recent evidence based report PHE estimate that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking. Recent surveys however, have clearly shown that there are a significant and increasing number of people who incorrectly assess the relative safety of e-cigarettes as being overly harmful when compared to smoking traditional cigarettes4 . This misperception has the potential to cause real harm to those smokers who might otherwise switch.
Criticism of the report based on quibbles over the 95% figure and tenuous insinuations of conflicts of interest in relation to some of the authors of one study out of the 180 cited within it do nothing but create doubt in the public mind, which discourages smokers from switching to the safer product and ultimately, harms their health.
Lorien Jollye, Trustee of the New Nicotine Alliance and a vaper said:
“Whilst it is of course important to ensure that information such as the PHE estimate that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking is as accurate as possible based on current evidence, it is more important still that consumers understand the message being put forward. This means that messaging must be clear and unambiguous and framed within their personal experience. This is what the PHE report sought to achieve”
Sarah Jakes, Trustee of the New Nicotine Alliance and a vaper said:
“As Professors of Public Health, scientists and journalists fight out their battles through the pages of scientific journals and newspapers, smokers and vapers are left unsure about how these products may benefit them. The negative health impact that such confusion brings to every smoker who is discouraged by it should weigh heavily on the conscience of all of those who put pen to paper without considering the consequences of their words.”
1. NNA is the New Nicotine Alliance (UK), a UK registered charity which is concerned with improving public health, through a greater understanding of “new” (risk-reduced) nicotine products and their uses. 6 out of 8 of the trustees of the charity are ex-smokers who have switched to using e-cigarettes. NNA has no ties or affiliations with any nicotine industry including the tobacco, pharmaceutical or e-cigarette industries.
2. Public Health England’s troubled trail: http://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h5826
3. E-cigarettes: An Evidence Update: Link to report in PDF format
The Sun newspaper, closely followed by several other publications, ran a story on the 21st of October with the natty headline: "Vaping Burnt a Hole in My Lungs". We will not fall into the obvious clickbait trap by linking to it, if you saw it you will know the story we mean.
If you are a new vaper, or a smoker considering switching to e-cigarettes and are concerned about this story, fear not. It is completely impossible for an e-cigarette to burn a hole in your lung in the way described in the story, or indeed in any other way. Please feel free to contact us via this site if you are still concerned.
Following on from the successful launch of The Glasgow School of Vape earlier this year, Colin Robertson has come up trumps with a new venue at the Drury Bar and Kitchen just across the road from Glasgow Central Station, starting at 2pm on Sunday 30th August and running on to 10pm .......
The New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) welcomes the publication of ‘E-cigarettes: an evidence update’, a report commissioned by Public Health England, and we also welcome the extensive guidance and advice which arises from it.
The report, with its focus on the best available evidence and authored by Professor Ann McNeil (Kings College London) and Professor Peter Hajek (Queen Mary University London) will help counter much of the misinformation generated in the media by previous poorly designed studies, and by those with a prohibitionist agenda, which has lead to confusion and fear in the public mind as to the relative safety of these products. This has no doubt discouraged many smokers from switching to the safer products, and encouraged overly restrictive policies among employers and other decision makers to the detriment of the health of the smokers who might otherwise have benefitted.
Sarah Jakes – Secretary of the New Nicotine Alliance – says ‘This report confirms the weight of scientific evidence, and the experience of millions of consumers – that e-cigarettes save lives. The message is clear – e-cigarettes help people exit from smoking’.
The report concludes that e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco. It highlights concerns that an increasingly large number of people incorrectly believe that e-cigarettes are equally or more harmful than smoking, and that almost half the population do not realise that in fact e-cigarettes are much less harmful than smoking. It also finds that there is no evidence so far that e-cigarettes are acting as a route to smoking for children or non smokers.
Prof Gerry Stimson – Chair of the New Nicotine Alliance and Emeritus Professor at Imperial College London commented that ‘Public Health England is taking the global lead in seeing the value of e-cigarettes to reduce the toll from smoking. It’s time for an end to scaremongering and for public health leaders – in the UK and globally – to support this consumer-led solution to a pressing public health issue.’
Based on the findings of the review PHE has issued wide ranging advice including that:
PHE has also called on local stop smoking services to engage actively with smokers who want to quit by using e-cigarettes, and for health and social care providers to provide accurate information on the relative risks of smoking and vaping.
On the 13th of August the Royal Society for Public Health published a new report entitled "Stopping Smoking by Using Other Sources of Nicotine", which can be read in detail here: RSPH Report (PDF)
NNA welcomes policy proposals which would serve to encourage smokers to switch from smoking to harm reduced products such as ecigs or snus. We do not believe that an extension of the current smoking ban in enclosed public spaces to outside spaces will be effective, and may in fact be counterproductive. Whilst enclosed space bans were a popular measure with the non smoking public, and even many smokers who appreciated the discomfort indoor smoking can cause non-smokers, outdoor bans serve no demonstrable health benefits and will be seen as an infringement on the choice to smoke which many will no doubt resist.
Choice is a key factor in the success of e-cigarettes as a harm reduction method because consumers feel empowered by the fact that they have taken ownership of their own health in a way that was not previously available to them. The substitution of choice with coercion and the inevitable stigmatism which outdoor bans will bring will erode this significant advantage. Public health policies in this area should aim to stimulate behaviour change through the provision of education and accurate information about nicotine and tobacco harm reduction, and to ensure that regulation does not stifle or discourage consumers' efforts to live a more healthy life should they choose to do so. Policies should be framed to encourage change in behaviour, rather than be about forcing change via increasing prohibition and general disapproval, which is likely to simply breed resistance and antagonism.
There is much to be applauded in the RSPH report. We wholeheartedly support their call for a better understanding about nicotine and the relative safety of harm reduced products such as e-cigarettes. The fact that (according to the RSPH survey) 69% of smokers do not know that NRT products are less dangerous than cigarettes is alarming. More alarming still is the fact that according to the most recent ONS data, 20% of people incorrectly believe that e-cigarettes are as dangerous as smoking regular cigarettes, and this percentage has increased from 6% in 2012. This is a monumental failure in public health messaging and there will undoubtedly be costs in terms of lives and health if the public misconceptions on this subject remain uncorrected. The fact that the use of e-cigarettes is at least 95% safer than smoking should be prominent in the minds of smokers everywhere.
We also welcome the RSPH's call for greater utilisation of e-cigarettes as a tool in the armoury of Smoking Cessation Services. Without doubt there are smokers for whom e-cigarettes might be effective as a cessation device, but who lack the confidence to try them without support. We believe it is essential that services do not discourage the use of e-cigarettes, and further, that advisors should be equipped with the knowledge and resources they require to be able to support service users who choose to try to quit smoking using e-cigarettes. This will ensure that clients are given the best possible chance of success. NNA has considerable experience in this area and is already working with a number of services to achieve this end.