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The nights are drawing in but the NNA has been active in trying to share enlightenment in October, despite fevered negativity from many quarters and a collective media eager to promote scurrilous headlines.

This month saw developments, good and bad, which could decide the future of harm reduction, not just here in the UK, and NNA Trustees were making themselves heard.

GRANITE NITTY-GRITTY

Last month we attended the Labour Party Conference in Brighton (see last newsletter) and this month we were represented 600 miles further north at the Scottish National Party Conference in Aberdeen. NNA Associate Andy Morrison tackled the question “Where next for vaping in Scotland” on a panel alongside two Members of the Scottish Parliament and a board member of the independent Vaporized vape shop chain.

AM SNP conferenceAndy Morrison at the Scottish National Party conference

Drawing on our concerns about the Scottish Tobacco Control Plan published on our blog in July last year where we observed that “mildly promising changes are undermined by a prevailing caution towards e-cigarettes which borders on paranoia”, Andy highlighted the advances that have been made north of the border while strongly condemning the SNP’s proposed ban on all advertising of vape products.

He agreed that restrictions on marketing to children and IP theft are valid areas of concern, but that there is already adequate monitoring and prevention through UK-wide regulations, and that Scotland should be looking to promote the at least 95% less harmful message via responsible advertising in order to allay doubt in the products.

MSPs on the panel arrived armed with the well-publicised myths and scare stories about vaping but Andy did his best to debunk them and they left with a better understanding of the importance of publicising safer nicotine products. The SNP delegates stressed that there will be a consultation on the proposals in due course and we will be ready to respond to that when it materialises. We hope that many of you will also do the same, so watch our social media for alerts.

LOU LA LA!

NNA Vice Chair Louise Ross took the Eurostar to Paris mid-October to share the perspective of vape-friendly Stop Smoking Services and the people who use them. At the third Sovape Sommet de la Vape conference, these insights added an extra consumer-focussed element to the science and research presented by many eminent speakers, including Prof David Levy, Dr Lion Shahab and Dr Leonie Brose.

The event was covered by renowned socialite magazine Paris Match and Louise was quoted in the piece (use translate, we did).

LR Paris Match

At the breaks, Louise reports that French medics were keen to find out how the UK has encouraged vaping as a means to help smokers who choose to quit and asked for resources such as those from the Challenge Group on the use of e-cigarettes among pregnant women. One doctor reportedly told Louise “Ah, that is what we do, I just needed to check we were right to say that”. Despite the prevailing dogma and suspicion on vaping products, it is good to know many are seeing through the smokescreen.

You can read more about the Sovape event in Paris, and their research on public attitudes towards e-cigarettes in France, at this link from European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (ETHRA) of which we are a founding partner.

REBORN IN THE USA

October also saw some much-needed common sense from the USA on the harm reduction front. The Federal Drugs Administration (FDA) issued a judgement that eight snus smokeless tobacco products can be marketed with the – quite obvious - claim that they are less harmful than smoking. While the messages to be included on the products are not perfect, it is encouraging that recognition of reduced risk products has been accepted in this instance by the FDA.

Of course, snus is still banned in the EU which prompted NNA Trustee and snus expert – Mark Oates – to comment on the regulatory disparity between the two Unions. “This decision is a welcome game-changer as it acknowledges, quite rightly, that safer nicotine products can offer great potential for smokers who wish to switch from smoking to a safer alternative”, he said, “there is simply no valid reason for snus to be prohibited in the EU, it is a shameful dereliction of duty which should be overturned at the first opportunity.”

You can read why we believe the EU should follow the lead of the US in our news section here.

TURKISH DELIGHT

NNA Trustee Sarah Jakes took part in a round-table discussion by Turkish broadcaster TRT World – imaginatively entitled Roundtable – this month. The half hour show tackled many of the recent misleading stories about vaping, with Sarah emphasising the benefits that consumers can derive from safer nicotine products. You can watch the whole show at this link.

SJ TRT

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK

Lastly, we reported last month on the formation of our new sister organisation, NNA Ireland. We are pleased to see that they have been quick to join the fray by condemning proposals to ban flavoured e-liquids by Irish political party Fine Gael – and specifically, prospective TD James Reilly - reported by The Journal news website.

"It's disappointing to see vaping being used as an election gambit, especially from a doctor who should know better. Tobacco harm reduction is a growing movement which is driving fast reduction of smoking rates in countries which implement sensible regulation”, NNA Ireland co-founder Tom Gleeson is quoted as saying. We couldn’t agree more.

It is great to see a new voice for consumers in Ireland up and running, you can read their inaugural article here and follow their activities on Twitter here.

TOMORROW'S NEWS TODAY

Once again, the NNA will be represented at The E-Cigarette Summit on 14th November with Louise Ross a panellist and Jessica Harding in attendance to report on proceedings. Louise will be advocating for “people who have switched from smoking to vaping to tell their healthcare worker too, to change resistant mindsets and undo the harm that professional prejudice can cause.”. There is far too much resistance to harm reduction amongst public health and many myths to dispel, so we hope that her message is well-received and understood on the day.

More news on future developments will be shared, as usual, the moment we receive them.

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.

There is an option to get Amazon to donate to the NNA if you shop via the Amazon Smile page and select NNA as your charity.  You can support New Nicotine Alliance (UK) by starting your shopping from this link

You can also encourage your supportive friends and family to sign up to updates about our work by clicking here.

DONATE

 

August is generally recognised as ‘silly season’ where the absence of any concrete political news sees media puff out their content with barely newsworthy articles. There was little going on for NNA last month either so we let the August newsletter slide in favour of a summer and autumn one covering September too, not that we were entirely redundant during the school holidays, as this round-up of our activities will show. It’s been a couple of months of exciting new initiatives coupled with fighting the relentless anti-harm reduction zombie arguments emanating from the public health community.

ALTOG-ETHRA NOW

We start this newsletter by proudly announcing that we are founder partners of a new Europe-wide consumer advocacy organisation called European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (ETHRA). It was launched on 26th September with the goal of joining forces with regional consumer groups to amplify the voice of the many millions of safer nicotine users in Europe.

ETHRA twitter header

In less than a week, ETHRA already boasts 14 European partners and we are proud that the NNA is one of them. As a region, Europe is generally blessed with sensible regulation compared with some of the wacky and ignorant approaches being taken in many jurisdictions worldwide, but it is important to stay vigilant. There are still many threats posed by enemies of harm reduction which can interfere with the world-leading regulation employed here and throw us back to the dark ages where reactionary puritans would have us exist.

The press release announcing the birth of ETHRA immediately pricked up the ears of the Politico news aggregator in Brussels who described it as the “new vape voice on the bloc”. The NNA was one of six European consumer groups to be quoted in the initial announcement – which you can read here - and you can read further coverage in UK vaping media here and here. Articles in French, Italian and Norwegian also greeted the launch and we described why it is important on our website too, which you can read by clicking here. You can view – and bookmark - ETHRA’s new website at ethra.co and follow @europethra on Twitter.

PLUCK OF THE IRISH

We are also very pleased that this month sees the launch of a new NNA sister organisation in the form of NNA Ireland. Shepherded into existence by long-term advocates Damian Sweeney and Tom Gleeson, we wish them every success in tackling the general mistrust of reduced risk products currently prevalent across the Irish Sea. It couldn’t have come at a better time considering there have been suggestions this week that Ireland should follow the lead of other gullible nations and ban flavours in e-cigarettes based on nothing but scare stories and deliberate deceit.

The NNA Ireland website will be launched very soon, but until then do follow them on Twitter here.

INDIAN VAPE TRICK

It’s not just Ireland rowing in behind disingenuous scare stories to pass astonishingly bad laws about vaping. India has been gagging to ban safer products for years and seized on misinformation from the USA to implement a comprehensive ban on production, import, sale and use. There are 120 million smokers in India, yet the government there thinks that restricting safer products is a good idea. For info, the Indian tobacco industry is partly state-owned, but we are certain this had nothing to do with their decision whatsoever.

At the start of September, the NNA wrote to the Indian Prime Minister to urge a better appreciation of harm reduction, sadly in vain. You can read our correspondence here.

KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON VAPING

Of course, much of the news lately – and the vehicle that Irish THR-wreckers and others are using to confuse the public and introduce bans - has focussed on developments in the USA where illegal oil-based liquids are being consumed and causing all manner of health problems.

NCSCT bannerImage credit: National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT)

On our blog, we explained why British vapers who have been urged by their friends and family to immediately quit e-cigarette use should not be alarmed and provided a number of sources to illustrate that the recent media stories are classic panic-fostering which consumers can produce when faced with non-vapers who are sucked in by the hysteria. We pointed out that “The e-cigarette market in the UK is tightly regulated under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations Act 2016 so you, your friends and family should have nothing to worry about. Keep calm, educate them, and carry on vaping.”

You can read why we say there is ‘nothing to see here’ in full at this link.

 

LABOURING THE POINT

NNA'S Martin Cullip and Jessica Harding travelled to Brighton for the start of the Labour Party Conference on the 23rd where Martin spoke on a Prospect Magazine panel entitled “Does Brexit present new opportunities for the vaping industry?”. This was on the same day that BBC News was reporting that Labour would be deciding their Brexit stance in the main auditorium at the Brighton Centre, so it couldn’t be more apt a conversation. Sir Kevin Barron MP – an enthusiastic supporter of harm reduction – was also on the panel and both our representatives reported that the reception from delegates in the room was largely positive towards e-cigarettes. In the past, the Labour Party has been reticent to back risk reduced products but, in the UK, we now seem to have a cross-party belief in their efficacy which is very encouraging. Long may that continue.

Prospects event

RIO ROSS

As reported in our July newsletter, our Vice Chair Louise Ross travelled to Rio de Janeiro in August to talk about how vape-friendly stop smoking services in the UK have been a success and that it’s not a bad idea to replicate the approach. Louise reports that there was some opposition but “the audience when I talked about the UK experience were quietly encouraging”. She also said that some medical professionals were “advising patients to switch to vaping, but because e-cigarettes are banned in Brazil, they have to buy expensive illegal imports. Sensible regulation could sort this out, but who has the ear of the Ministry of Health?”. Who indeed?

Vaping is banned in Brazil so the fact that Louise met doctors there who have seen through the wall of misleading information is very encouraging.

UNTYING NOTTS

A year of work came to a conclusion on Friday 20 September, as NNA representatives Andy Morrison, Dave Cross and Louise Ross debated with workshop attendees at the final Priorities Setting Partnership for e-cigarette research.

Imagine a colander, containing almost 2,000 potential research questions, the contents being filtered down into a sieve with smaller holes, and then finally put through a tea-strainer, until we ended up with a consensus-led decision about which the top 10 most important items for research are, according to consumers, healthcare workers, vapers, smokers, non- and ex-smokers and anyone else with an interest in the subject.

Top of the list throughout was Long Term Effects, and the current doubts being sown make this even more relevant. Also important were vaping in pregnancy, mental health, secondhand vape and efficacy in smoking cessation.

The PSP was a fantastic opportunity to gather the views of consumers, as well as others who occupy this space, and to influence the future trends around how research funding awards are made. The New Nicotine Alliance made a significant contribution, on equal terms with healthcare representatives, to a promising new raft of research.

PSP graphicE-Cigarettes Priority Setting Partnership infographic, also viewable here

 

 

VAPING BANS ARE BAD M'KAY

We were heartened in August to find out that the Indiana University School of Public Health agrees with our regular assertion that bans on vaping in public spaces are a very bad idea. Their research found that “Adults living in the states with an aerosol-free policy (including vaping in legislative smoking bans) were less likely to use ENDS (e-cigarettes) compared with those living in the states without an aerosol-free policy”. Obviously, to encourage smokers to use reduced risk products instead of smoking, there should be some kind of incentive and vaping bans are the very opposite of that.

We blogged about this evidence-based confirmation of what we vapers have always known, saying “No amount of stressing the safer nature of vaping from public health groups will ever be as powerful an opinion-former to the general public as a prohibitive and dramatic “no vaping” sign or announcement on a public tannoy”. You can read our article on the subject here.

WE BAND OF VAPERS

The end of September saw the release of this year’s ASH report on e-cigarette use in the UK. It revealed yet another rise in the numbers of vapers to 3.6 million, up from 3.2 million last year, 1.9 million of whom have switched entirely from smoking. We were encouraged by these figures in light of recent scare stories and commented that “it is heartening to see that there is still a significant rise in consumers seeing through the noise and choosing to vape instead. It suggests that there is a culture in the UK of smokers and vapers engaging with each other to share experiences and information”. You can read our full article on the ASH survey in our news section here.

 TOMORROW'S NEWS TODAY

NNA Associate Andy Morrison is venturing up to the Scottish National Party Conference in Aberdeen in October to discuss “Where next for vaping in Scotland?”. We wrote about the Scottish Tobacco Control Plan and the flaws it contains back in July last year which you can read here. Nothing much has changed in the interim and the SNP is now ill-advisedly suggesting following through with a draconian and misjudged ban on advertising for e-cigarettes. We hope Andy will be able to persuade SNP delegates of the benefits of harm reduction and that vaping in Scotland – and their smoking rates – will be going absolutely nowhere if faced with the alarmism that is currently proposed.

A delegation from the NNA is also scheduled to meet a very prominent government grandee from the Philippines in October. The country is deeply set against harm reduction, but we hope to leave them with some positive messages before they head back to Manila from London.

Lastly, trustee Sarah Jakes was invited to speak on Turkish TV about vaping and the show has been recorded for broadcast very soon. At time of publication it was not available, but we will update you in the next newsletter. Watch this space.

 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.

Sign up as a NNA Supporter and encourage your friends and family to sign up too, you can do that here.    

DONATE

 

July 2019 may have been declared the warmest month on record globally, but we at the NNA will remember it as a month in which we gave a cool reception to several regulatory suggestions; some well-meaning, some not so. Here is a round-up of this month’s NNA activities.

MADNESS IN THEIR METHOD

The biggest – and most disappointing – story of July was the release of the seventh “report on the global tobacco epidemic” from the World Health Organisation. Despite tobacco harm reduction being a platform of the WHO FCTC’s founding articles, the report’s only mention of the term was to dismiss it as a concept fabricated by the tobacco industry.

The report perpetuated the myth that vaping has not been proven to help smokers quit, as well as talking up e-cigarettes as a gateway into smoking amongst youths. The report completely ignores credible third-party scientific evidence disproving their wild assertions and led to much negative media such as “WHO says e-cigarettes, 'smoke-free' products do not help reduce cancer” from Reuters.

We issued a press release criticising the report’s claims, suggesting that the WHO are taking an unhelpful ideological stance rather than one which could contribute to the outcomes they claim to want to achieve. We concluded that “If the WHO truly wants to drive down smoking rates, it must consider the growing body of evidence that vaping is an effective way to help people to quit. The WHO and the tobacco control lobby seem to have abandoned health altogether in favour of just attacking industry.”. You can read what we had to say about it in full here.

GREEN PAPER PALAVER

This month also saw the release of a government green paper containing recommendations towards vaping products. It was hastily rushed out as one of the last acts of the May administration and it showed, with some of the proposals resembling a regulatory bull in a china shop approach, suggesting that prohibition of smoking by 2030 can be achieved by demanding industry force smokers onto vaping instead.

While we were encouraged that government has placed great faith in reduced risk products in such a short space of time since they were contemplating banning them, we blogged that this is not the right approach to take.

“One reason that e-cigarettes have been successful since they went mainstream about seven years ago is that they are not seen as coercive. Smokers feel they are making their own choice rather than being forced into it. If politicians want to see increased uptake of safer nicotine substitutes for smoking, they should do so by optimising the choice of alternatives such as e-cigarettes, snus and heat not burn products, not by the blunt tool of coercion and prohibition”. We went on to say that “A policy like that suggested in the Green Paper would instantly remove the allure of safer products for many smokers.”.

You can read the full blog article here

"DEBATING" DAME SALLY

The latest issue of Vapouround magazine included not one, but two, articles featuring our Chair Martin Cullip. The first was entitled “The Vape Debate” and focussed on comments by Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies recently in which she suggested vaping should be banned in public places.

Dame Sally said that “my personal view is that we should treat e-cigarettes like we do tobacco products, so I would not have them smoked in public places. I hate it when I walk past someone and they waft vapour over me.”. Martin disagreed, of course, starting his rebuttal with “it’s nonsense, I think vaping should be allowed in many more places than it is now”. You can see the double page feature on page 54 here.

Vapouround

The magazine also carried a rundown of Martin’s presentation to the ENDS Conference in June where he urged industry “not to play into the hands of anti-vaping alarmists”. In another double page article, Vapouround writer Patrick Griffin quoted the observation that “we have politicians doing brilliantly for vaping but they’re fighting a losing battle against misinformation and ignorance. Changing this narrative is how we move on and normalise vaping, but we will not do this if we keep playing in the playground of our enemies.”. You can read the whole thing on page 64 of the latest issue here.

DIFFERENT STROKES

This month the NNA decided to leave the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations (INNCO). We made a short announcement on our website to that effect. We feel that our two organisations have slightly different ideas about how to move forward but we share the end goal of pursuing better regulation for reduced risk products and wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

BOARD BULLETIN

It is all change at the NNA with a reshuffling of our board of trustees.

Firstly, we regret to announce that Professor Gerry Stimson – our former Chair – has decided to step down from the board. Gerry is a highly regarded public health professor who has a pedigree in harm reduction initiatives in areas such as drugs and HIV prevention stretching back decades. He was instrumental in helping the NNA in its early years and beyond with advice and guidance for which we are eternally grateful. We wish him the very best for his future projects.

GS at the ECJGerry Stimson at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, for the challenge to the ban on the sale of snus

GS at the APPGGerry speaking at the APPG on vaping, February 2017

A conversation about e-cigarettesGerry Stimson:  A conversation about e-cigarettes, watch the video here

Kevin Molloy has also stepped down as Vice Chair but will stay on as a Trustee, his previous role will now be taken up by Louise Ross, who needs no introduction.

We have also appointed two new trustees in Dave Cross and Mark Oates. Dave is well known to many vapers as chief writer for the Planet of the Vapes website and is comprehensively knowledgeable about all vaping matters. Alongside him, we welcome Mark Oates, a parliamentary researcher in the office of Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski. Mark is a snus user and committed harm reduction advocate who has worked tirelessly towards better evidence-based policy at Westminster and the EU. We are delighted to welcome both on board as trustees.

You can see the new make-up of our Board here.

TOMORROW'S NEWS TODAY

Our new Vice Chair Louise Ross is currently in Brazil to provide background on the pioneering work she engaged in towards vape-friendly stop smoking services in the UK. She has been invited by the University of Rio de Janeiro and will be involved in roundtable discussions with the Brazilian Ministry of Health. Louise is a proud grandmother doing a great job spreading the good news story from our country, so keep an eye on our social media and website for further news very soon on Rio Gran’s travels.

Political party conference season is nearly upon us and, once again, NNA representatives have been invited to share our views. Our Chair Martin Cullip is following up last year’s Conservative Party appearance with one at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton in September on the subject of “Does Brexit present new opportunities for the vaping industry?”. Meanwhile, in October, NNA Associate Andy Morrison is venturing up to the Scottish National Party Conference in Aberdeen to discuss “Where next for vaping in Scotland?”. Stay tuned to our website for reports on these events when they happen.

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

 

June was dominated by the Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) in Warsaw. This year being the sixth staging, many NNA Trustees, associates and supporters were in Poland for the event which attracted a record 600-plus attendees. There were also a host of journalists, so the NNA took the opportunity to speak about a currently much-discussed topic while over there.

LIQUID LUNCH

On the Friday of GFN, the NNA hosted a press briefing on the importance of flavours in vaping liquids. A panel representing academia, industry and consumers emphasised how vital flavours are in ensuring vapers do not relapse to smoking once they have found a set-up that works for them.

The event was in response to many voices – especially in the USA – beginning to talk about banning flavours in vaping products. As consumers ourselves, we know how important flavours are and it would be highly damaging to remove the choice that flavours bring to the marketplace. As James Dunworth, vaping blogger and owner of E-Cigarette Direct said during the panel: “Vaping works because it's fun. Take the pleasure out of vaping and it will stop working. Key to that pleasure is flavour. Because of demand, there are a huge number of flavours, meaning there's something for everyone - and when someone finds their perfect flavour, they’re highly unlikely to go back to smoking.”

NNA flavours briefing for newsletterDr Sharon Cox, Dr Christopher Russell, James Dunworth, Martin Cullip and Nancy Sutthoff

We couldn’t agree more, and neither could Dr Sharon Cox of South Bank University, who said: “The evidence suggests flavours are one of a few key components, important to both the new vaper and the experienced vaper, which help people abstain from smoking.”

You can read our press release following the briefing here, and vaping press reports here, here and here. We printed 50 copies of the release to distribute at the Warsaw venue and just under an hour later they had all been taken. We hope that we offered food for thought to many in the venue.

Flyer for newsletter

CONSUMER VOICE

Elsewhere at GFN, on the Thursday NNA Chair Martin Cullip oversaw a marathon half day consumer alignment meeting comprised of several panels on issues of interest to those who use safer nicotine products. The meeting began with a cracking panel on what good consumer advocacy should look like in advance of the World Health Organisation’s COP9 in The Hague next year and how former smokers can defend their chosen reduced risk products internationally.

GFN consumer meetingEveline Hondius, Kim Dabelstein Petersen, David Sweanor, Martin Cullip, Clive Bates and Fiona Patten

To a packed audience where there was literally standing room only, Clive Bates opened proceedings explaining how to approach the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which he described as “an authorizing environment for bad policy, an echo chamber-like environment where people pat each other on the back for doing things that won’t really benefit anybody”. David Sweanor of the University of Ottowa chipped in to ridicule the stance of governments which ban vaping products – such as Australia and as San Francisco has recently voted for – while conventional cigarettes are still legal, with the analogy “We don’t want people to play tennis, but it’s ok if they toss bombs back and forth.”. While Fiona Patten, leader of the Reason Party in Australia, responded to Martin’s question as to whether New Zealand’s liberal stance towards vaping and heated tobacco might sway her country’s government by saying that “New Zealand is a nice Australia, we wish we could adopt it” to peals of laughter in the room. Eveline Hondius of Acvoda gave us a much needed perspective on the THR landscape in the Netherlands and INNCO’s Kim Dalbenstein Petersen provided essential input on what consumer plans for COP 9 could look like.

Other panels during the day focussed on establishing regional global consumer networks, how safer nicotine fits in with established and accepted harm reduction strategies in other areas, and how consumers can target messaging effectively. Many thanks to Norbert Zillatron for filming and uploading the videos, you can watch those here.

The next day, NNA Associate Andy Morrison gave a stinging rundown of bad policy on vaping from regulators and industry as part of the At the front line - what do consumers need? panel, featuring consumers from North America, Europe and Asia reporting on what is happening in their part of the world. This event was also extremely well-attended with barely a seat spare and the issues shared were illuminating as to the interface between consumers and vendors and the struggles going on all over the world to make policymakers see common sense.  You can watch that here

 At the front line GFN panel eventAndy Morrison, James Dunworth, Clarisse Virgino, Ángeles Muntadas-Prim Lafita, Zhenyi Zhou and Spike Babaian 

We also produced a poster for GFN detailing our input to the VApril campaign for which we authored a guide to smokers who are embarking on using e-cigarettes for the first time. See below for the finished article, which was very well-received at the venue.

GFN posterNNA poster at #GFN19

Lastly on GFN, this year the conference held its first raffle in aid of charity and the NNA were the inaugural beneficiaries. During the event, NNA trustee Bernice Evans was busily selling tickets to delegates and a final push from fellow trustee Gerry Stimson edged the proceeds to just over £1,000. Even better is that both the top two winners donated their prizes to us too, which added an extra boost.

Please see the end of this newsletter for how you can support us, your donations are vital to support the work we do.

ACAS SUCCESS

Last month we reported that Mark Pawsey MP had promised to contact Acas about their web page on vaping in the workplace that was desperately out-of-date and contained dubious – and often inaccurate – advice for employers. This was after the NNA’s Martin Cullip had raised the point during a panel that the MP was chairing.

We can now report that the Chief Executive of Acas has replied, conceding that “there is indeed grounds for improving Acas guidance on vaping” and promising to amend the terminology used on the site as well as providing “more up to date links to commentators and advice on the issue of vaping”. We obviously very much welcome this and look forward to seeing the new guidance once it has been published.

 DON'T WORRY, BE HAPPY

Towards the end of June, Action on Smoking and Health published their latest research into the subject of underage vaping in the UK. Once again, it concluded that we do not have a problem in the UK and that the regulatory environment here is appropriate. We wrote about the new statistics when they were released to emphasise that the doomsayers on youth vaping should stop talking up non-existent risks and let other countries follow the lead that is so successful here.

“The simple fact is that despite the global panic about e-cigarettes, in a properly regulated market we are seeing safer nicotine products such as e-cigarettes consistently delivering hugely positive benefits for public health. The UK now boasts over 3.2 million vapers and the country’s smoking prevalence is at a record low after dramatic declines which coincide with the period in which vaping has ballooned here. Vaping by children and teens, by comparison, is negligible and mostly made up of those who either already smoked or would have done absent of an alternative. Other countries should take note.” You can read the blog in full here.

MEANS TO AN ENDS

Finally, as mentioned last month, NNA Chair Martin Cullip presented to an industry audience at the ENDS Conference in Marble Arch in early June. He was critical of some approaches to policy currently being undertaken by vape businesses, most especially in the way industry is being sucked into battles it shouldn’t be fighting.

As mentioned earlier in this newsletter, youth vaping is not a problem in a properly regulated market, and Martin instead introduced the conference to ‘Dorothy and Brian’ pictured below, a charming couple who are both vapers of small devices but are more representative of e-cigarette consumers than the cloud-chasing enthusiasts favoured by screeching tabloid media. He reiterated that for every consumer using high wattage devices, there will be 40 or 50 others who the public would not even notice.

It is important to be vigilant where youth vaping is concerned, Martin said, but the more pressing issues for industry are unnecessary vaping bans and lack of resources for conveying positive messages to the public at large. He suggested that industry could help us help them by using their social media to advocate for all of us instead of just selling kit and portray vapers as they are – former smokers – rather than hip, funky and cool trend-setters.

Brian and Dorothy

THEY NEED YOU!

NNA trustee Louise Ross has always made the point that although the vaping products age of sale law strengthens the UK position on stopping underage people starting to use nicotine products, it has unintended consequences for young people from vulnerable groups (for example, looked after children and users of mental health services). It is well-documented that these young people tend to start smoking in their early teens - if not before - and every year that they continue to smoke, they increase their risk of developing a smoking-related illness.

Knowing that there is little interest among these groups in using a stop smoking service and yet showing an interest in vaping as an alternative, Louise has begun gathering practical examples of how a carefully thought-out approach might enable vaping among vulnerable young people who are already smoking, in order to reduce harms among people who are already disadvantaged.

It is a controversial area but is currently under-researched for varied reasons, which Louise would like to change. If you have views on this or - more importantly - if you work with looked after children or users of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), Louise would be very interested to hear from you.

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.

Every month we highlight the option to effortlessly donate to the NNA if you shop via the Amazon Smile page and select NNA as your charity. You can support New Nicotine Alliance (UK) by starting your shopping from this link.

You can also donate to the NNA via eBay, as we are registered as an eBay charity. You can add a donation when you buy something and you can also auction something and choose to donate part or all the proceeds to us. We are always open to donated items which we can sell to raise funds too, all items would be gratefully received.

Please encourage your friends and family to sign up as Supporters and to get updates about our work by clicking here.

Donate to NNA

 

 

 

May has been relatively quiet on the harm reduction front but there are looming threats from the WHO and the EU coming down the track that we need to stay alert for. Here is what the NNA has been up to this month, but also some preliminary information on what we fear could be a sinister and science-free attack on alternative nicotine products in the next year or so via the revisited EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD3) and the unelected WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

WORLD QUIT OR DIE DAY

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?

The 31st May was the World Health Organisation’s No Tobacco Day but – once again – there was no mention of how reduced risk products like e-cigarettes could contribute to this goal. We wrote last year about how this was a massive lost opportunity, but it seems that the WHO is not interested in the proven success of vaping despite article 1d of its FCTC constitution specifically stating that harm reduction should be embraced.

very sorry

Instead, the WHO are planning to embark on a campaign to persuade governments to treat vaping the same as smoking all over the world. In a submission to the WHO’s General Assembly this month, the FCTC declared it wanted to “prioritize measures that prevent initiation of novel and emerging tobacco products, protect people from exposure to their emissions, prevent health claims being made for such products, avert their promotion, regulate the contents and disclosure of the contents of novel and emerging tobacco products, and regulate, including restriction or prohibition of the manufacture, importation, distribution, presentation, sale and use of novel and emerging tobacco products”. As usual, the FCTC is incorrectly classifying e-cigarettes as tobacco to bolster its Luddite action against innovative products which have led to astonishing declines in smoking rates in countries such as Norway, Japan, Sweden, Korea, USA, France and the UK.

The NNA added a quote to a press release by the UKVIA querying why a global health entity such as  the WHO wishes to ignore the success of vaping in favour of strict prohibition of products which are unquestionably favourable to public health. It seems that the FCTC will be looking to place as many obstructions as they can in front of successful harm reduction solutions at their Conference of the Parties (COP9) gathering in Amsterdam next year.
In all other health policy areas, the WHO supports harm reduction measures, just not when it comes to smoking, which begs the question why they are not more honest in calling 31st May World Quit or Die Day instead.

 LIFE AND SEOUL

The start of May saw NNA Trustees Gerry Stimson and Louise Ross meet Professors Choi and Kim at the Royal Society of Medicine. They had come all the way from South Korea to learn more about the UK approach to tobacco harm reduction. Gerry spoke about successful UK government policy before Louise followed up with a session on her clinical experience of supporting people to switch from smoking to vaping.

Prof Choi had personal insights into this, having stopped smoking with heat not burn products, and very much related to the picture that Louise described. The professors were particularly interested in the benefits of switching when applied to people who have poor mental health and those who live with financial hardships. Spending around 10% on vaping compared with the money they would have spent on tobacco cigarettes made them really sit up and take notice, along with the superior quit rates once smokers tried vaping.

At the end of the interview, Prof Choi asked Louise if she would be prepared to travel to South Korea to speak to government representatives, to which she replied with a resounding yes. Could our intrepid former stop smoking manager be Seoulward bound soon? We’ll keep you posted.

RISE TO THE CHALLENGE

NNA Associate Terry Walker blogged this month about his efforts at changing misguided vaping bans and how he has managed to engage with his local NHS Trust on educating them about how to treat e-cigarette use in line with government advice.

He has had some success, and reports that:
“I wrote to the Chief Executive of the NHS Trust to offer my services in assisting them in reviewing their policy to bring it more in line with latest guidance and to align with the government’s Tobacco Control Plan. Encouragingly, he replied to thank me for my message and to say he would “welcome some discussion on this for a future update of the policy” and forwarded my message to those who have the relevant responsibility.”
Terry ended his piece with a challenge to other vapers faced with similar ill-thought out policies prohibiting vaping, by urging “if you see a vaping policy that is wrong-headed, it could well be worth politely enquiring as to why. If I can do it, so can you.”
You can read about his efforts here.

If you have questioned anti-vaping policies in your own locality and received a sympathetic ear like Terry has, do please let us know. Or, if you have any other story to tell about your experiences with vaping, we would always welcome guest bloggers. Just get in touch via our contact page

Terry and Hon LikNNA Associate Terry Walker with Hon Lik, inventor of the modern e-cigarette, at the Global Forum on Nicotine in 2017

 

VAPE-FRIENDLY FIRE

The UKVIA held its second annual Forum this month which was addressed by TV’s Dr Christian Jessen and was also attended by two MPs – Labour’s Sir Kevin Barron and Conservative Mark Pawsey – along with speakers from a range of vape industry interests and policy area commentators.

NNA Chair Martin Cullip represented consumers on a panel entitled “Has the UK become vape unfriendly?” which was chaired by Pawsey and featured Andrew Green of the British Beer and Pubs Association. We reported on our blog that “there was a definite willingness from the BBPA to better inform their members about the benefits of welcoming vapers – even if only for the boost to their profits which could result – and we hope to continue a dialogue with them so that more pubs might welcome vapers in the future”.
You can read our report of the event here.

During the panel, Martin also raised the issue of the web page on vaping in the workplace at government-funded ACAS’s website. He pointed out that it was not fit for purpose, cited long outdated research and was sending entirely the wrong message to the many employers who rely on it for sensible advice. It is disappointing, for example, that an organisation which is trusted for rigorous guidance on employment matters is still describing vaping as “smoking e-cigarettes” and is not joined-up with current government guidance.

Mark Pawsey made a note about Martin’s concerns and we have since heard that the MP will be writing to the Chief Executive of ACAS to ask that the page be revisited. We will be sure to let you know if long overdue corrections are made.

.Martin Cullip speaking UKVIA ForumMartin Cullip speaking at the UKVIA Forum

 THEY NEED YOU!

Just a reminder that a new searchable resource has been created which aims to catalogue vape shops all over the country. As reported last month, the UK Vape Store Locator is “designed by a vaper who got a bit bored between Christmas and New Year 2018 and decided to see what he could do with Google maps” and intends to build a map of all shops in the UK. You can follow the project on social media here and suggest shops for the publicly available database here.

 TOMORROW'S NEWS TODAY

The Global Forum on Nicotine in is almost upon us and many NNA Trustees, Associates and Supporters will be in Warsaw for the event in the second week of June. The NNA poster is almost finalised and final plans are in place for a Consumer Advocacy Alignment meeting - organised by Jessica Harding and chaired by Martin Cullip - featuring academics and consumers from all over the world. The NNA is the designated charity partner for this year’s conference so if you have a raffle prize to contribute, please get in touch.

Martin will also be presenting a speech on the subject of “Challenges in communication around vaping products and the consumer outlook” at the unfortunately named ‘ENDS’ Conference taking place in London this coming week.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

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