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As mentioned in our round-up of 2019, the coming year will present many sinister challenges. We need to be ready for them and the NNA has been preparing for momentous threats from the EU and the WHO. 2020 will require consumers to be vigilant and active, so do keep watching for updates. Here are just some of the activities we have been involved with at the start of a new year.

FINDING COMMONS GROUND

With clear and present dangers to harm reduction looming, an NNA delegation met with three MPs at the House of Commons on 28th January. Mark Pawsey, MP for Rugby, Adam Afriyie, MP for Windsor, and Gareth Johnson, MP for Dartford met with us to discuss how to best address threats to the very successful UK government strategy towards vaping and other reduced risk products.

Our government leads the world in sensible recognition of safer nicotine products and provides a great example to other jurisdictions on how to make the most of innovative products via our Tobacco Control Plan. Unaccountable external interests are irritated by this, but we received a reassuring welcome for our plans to keep the UK safe from measures which could threaten our successful policies here. 

 

NNA at the House of Commons

Pictured above are NNA trustees Sarah Jakes, Dave MacKintosh, Tom Pruen, Martin Cullip, Mark Oates and Bernice Evans with MPs after the meeting.

Gareth Johnson has already started probing the government for their plans to tackle EU and WHO excesses with two parliamentary questions which you can read here and here, while Adam Afriyie posted positive messages to Twitter the day after our meeting, which you can support here and here. If you choose to post your personal story on how harm reduction helped you, we think it would be well-received.

 WORLD HEALTH MISINFORMATION

As if we didn’t need reminding why the World Health Organisation is a conflicted and dangerous force for bad in the tobacco harm reduction space which consumers should be prepared to battle against in 2020, they released a Q&A document and a series of tweets on January 20th which were astonishing. NNA associate Clive Bates wrote about how appalling their guidance is, stating that “there are nine questions and every single answer provides false, misleading or simplistic information”. It was subsequently updated but is still woefully misleading. You can read Clive’s comprehensive summary here.

Our Vice Chair, Louise Ross was also active in objecting to the WHO’s blatant misinformation about e-cigarettes. At EcigClick she rightly accused the WHO of “publishing assertions that undermine the determination of smokers to switch to a less harmful product”, while at The Filter, she was angry that she is receiving calls “from healthcare professionals who now think that vaping is more dangerous than smoking” which is fundamentally untrue, and that it is “because they have been misinformed by an organisation that claims to care about health.”. Louise was also quoted on the subject in a YouTube submission by advocate John Oyston which you can view here.

The Science Media Centre also spoke out about the WHO’s ideological departure from reality, with Professor John Britton describing how “the WHO misrepresents the available scientific evidence”, which you can read here.

LA-LA DOOLALLY AMERICA

Our Chair, Martin Cullip, was interviewed by French magazine PGVG on thoughts from 2019 and aspirations for 2020 in NNA’s role as founder partner of European advocacy group, ETHRA.

Martin Cullip PGVG

 

In an article drawing on commentators across Europe, Martin remarked that “the coordination and frequency of attacks on vaping have been as extraordinary as they are shameful” in 2019 and that “what happened in the United States must not affect the great potential that reduced risk products can bring to the rest of the world” in the coming year. All the submissions are in French, but you can Google translate them from this link.

Martin was also asked for comment by Vapouround magazine this month about the absurd suggestion by Canadian public health officials that vaping products should be sold in plain packaging. He described the proposal as policymakers with a hammer desperately searching for a new nail and that industry-set standards would be more likely to produce beneficial results to counter perceived downsides to problematic packaging. Keep an eye on the magazine’s website for when the article is published.

PLUCK OF THE IRISH

It’s great to note that our sister organisation, NNA Ireland, continues to gain recognition. In a country implacably opposed to harm reduction, they are doing a great job of making themselves heard.

NNA IE

NNA Ireland is a nascent consumer group representing those who use reduced risk products across the Irish Sea. If you are in Ireland please contact them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or join their Facebook group (here), they would welcome your input. They urgently need help with setting up a website and also need people who are prepared to be active and share their story with politicians.

SETTING THE STANDARDS

We are delighted to report that NNA trustee Dave Cross has been appointed as a member of the committee to craft standards for e-cigarettes and e-liquids with the British Standards Institution. The working title for the standard is BSI CH/437 and we are confident that Dave will be able to contribute wisely in the role drawing on his extensive knowledge of the product category over many years.

Additionally, our newly-appointed trustee Tom Pruen has submitted evidence towards the BSI’s inquiry into heated tobacco entitled Draft PAS 8850: Non-Combustible Tobacco Products, Heated Tobacco products, while Louise Ross contributed towards NICE’s guidance on Tobacco: preventing uptake, promoting quitting and treating dependence.

PARISH NOTICES

Our highly respected and loved trustee Kevin Molloy is going through a difficult time right now, and has had to stand down from NNA. We wish him love and strength as he undertakes a very arduous treatment for cancer.

 

TOMORROW'S NEWS TODAY

Trustee Dave MacKintosh spoke at the launch of Tobacco Harm Reduction and the Right to Health, the latest Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction report at Guildhall Art Gallery on the 23rd of this month. There are plenty of other events lined up for our team in coming weeks.

Our Chair, Martin Cullip, will be speaking at St George’s Hospital in Tooting on 10th February at their Great Vape Debate. The panel will be filmed but if you are in the area and wish to attend, tickets are available here.

NNA Associate Andy Morrison will be in Lanarkshire to discuss harm reduction with local stop smoking services on 12th February, and our snus expert Mark Oates will be at Vaper Expo in Olympia on the weekend of 15th/16h February.

Lastly, if you have an idea for a session at the Global Forum on Nicotine you can submit your abstract here - but please do it quickly, as the deadline for abstract submissions is 9th February. As ever, the 7th GFN offers a lot of opportunities for consumer participation - including dedicated forums for consumer discussion - so please consider attending. You can register for the GFN here.

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 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 your own items 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.

Sign up as a NNA Supporter and encourage your friends and family to sign up too, by clicking here.

 

Donate to NNA

 

As 2020 approaches we can look back at what the NNA has been up to in the last 12 months. It has been a difficult year, but we expect an even more difficult one to come and we will need all your support to get through it. Please share our posts, make a financial donation, but most of all in 2020, be prepared to get active as there are momentous challenges ahead. To learn how to donate to the NNA and support our work, please see the bottom of this page. In the meantime, here are highlights from 2019.

JANUARY

The year began quietly but NNA Trustees were active, nonetheless. A significant report by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) was released for which our Vice Chair, Louise Ross, had helped with recruiting subjects. The study found that vaping doubles a smoker’s chances of quitting, when compared with NRT, and gathered a lot of national media interest as well as being cited regularly throughout the year at conferences and in news articles. You can read the report here.

Louise co-authored a separate report released in January alongside our former Chair, Sarah Jakes, and produced in partnership with Caitlin Notley of the University of East Anglia and Sharon Cox of South Bank University. It concluded that academics should be involving vapers in their investigations or else they will come up with unrealistic or incorrect results. The report is available to read here.

January also saw the release of a film by PHE comparing the effect of emissions from cigarettes and e-cigarettes on cotton wool in two bell jars. The film is available at the BBC website here and you can read our reaction to it on our blog here.

FEBRUARY

NNA Trustee Louise Ross joined Professor Peter Hajek and Dr Katie Myers Smith of Queen Mary University, Martin Dockrell of Public Health England and other public health influencers on a tour of London, Birmingham and York to discuss the conclusions of January’s revealing QMUL study.

Louise also wrote a guest article at Clive Bates’s Counterfactual site to explain her role in the E-cigarettes Priority Setting Partnership which we highlighted on our blog in January here. Meanwhile, Jessica Harding attended the APPG on vaping meeting at the House of Commons, arranged for MPs to discuss the industry’s role in preventing youth uptake of vaping products. She reported that, although this was a meeting to take evidence from industry only, MPs on the day made a very good effort at putting the consumer case and seem to have taken the NNA’s previous contributions on board.

MARCH

March began with ominous signs from the EU that they intend to crack down on vaping in the next iteration of the Tobacco Products Directive. The outgoing EU Health Commissioner had described to Euractiv how he wishes to see medicalisation of the products and his second in command had described vaping as “poison”. As we warned just last week, heading off these threats is going to be a priority in 2020, you can read why we take that view on our blog here.

Also in March, the NNA’s Gerry Stimson, Kevin Molloy and Jessica Harding took part in a trip to Malawi, Kenya and Nigeria to spread the message of harm reduction in Africa, meeting with representatives of the Campaign for Safer Alternatives in Africa and THR Malawi while there, while Louise Ross was filmed by Filter giving her thoughts about the real-life practicalities of harm reduction via vaping, and how she had changed her mind from being initially against but now very much in favour of e-cigarettes. You can watch the video on YouTube.

Louise Ross Filter vid

APRIL

We got off to a flying start in April by writing a “Switch on to vaping plan” which you can read and download here. This was to coincide with the second annual UKVIA VApril campaign which launched on the 1st. Our Chair, Martin Cullip, spoke at the launch alongside TV’s Doctor Christian Jessen, and we wrote about why the campaign should be supported on our blog here.

VApril

Louise Ross was again seconding her thoughts to external websites by writing of how stop smoking services should be receptive to e-cigarettes to make harm reduction a success for their clients at the widely-read Ashtray Blog here, while also writing in support of e-cigarettes being sold in pharmacies in a debate-style piece for the Pharmaceutical Journal which you can read here.

In Hong Kong, the government conducted a consultation in April on whether to ban e-cigarettes outright. The NNA submitted a response warning that a significant proportion of the 570k UK tourists that visit Hong Kong every year might be at risk of jail simply for following advice from health organisations in the UK. You can read our full submission here.

As if that isn’t enough, Andy Morrison was also in attendance at the 5th annual Glasgow School of Vape and a delegation from the NNA went to Vape Jam at London’s Excel where Martin Cullip took part in an eventful panel debate on the main stage about responsible marketing.

MAY

The UKVIA’s second yearly Forum took place in May, addressed by Dr Christian Jessen and attended by two MPs – Labour’s Sir Kevin Barron and Conservative Mark Pawsey. NNA Chair Martin Cullip represented consumers on a panel entitled “Has the UK become vape unfriendly?”. Where he defended the use of e-cigarette use in private venues and raised the issue of poor advice on workplace policies on the Acas website, more on that later. We reported on the event on our blog here.

NNA Associate Terry Walker also 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, which you can read here.

JUNE

As usual, June was a busy month with many NNA Trustees, associates and supporters prominent at the sixth staging of the Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) in Warsaw.

We hosted a press briefing on the importance of flavours in vaping liquids at the conference, our press release from which you can read here. 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. On the Thursday NNA Chair Martin Cullip also 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 star-studded panel on what good consumer advocacy should look like in advance of the World Health Organisation’s COP9 in The Hague next year which attracted so much interest that it was standing room only. Associate Andy Morrison also spoke, delivering his thoughts on 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. And to top all that off, we also presented a poster at the event describing our input to the VApril campaign earlier in the year.

CAAM for newsletter 2Consumer meeting at the Global Forum on Nicotine

There was also good news in June that Acas had agreed to change their website advice about workplace vaping as a result of our highlighting the issue in May; Action on Smoking and Health released new data on the subject of underage vaping in the UK - which you can read here – and Martin Cullip delivered a presentation to the ENDS Conference in London where he expressed criticism of some approaches to policy currently being undertaken by vape businesses.

JULY

We were disappointed in July at some of the regulatory noises coming from both the WHO and the UK government.

The seventh “report on the global tobacco epidemic” from the World Health Organisation was released in this month and its only mention of harm reduction was to dismiss it as a concept fabricated by the tobacco industry. We issued a press release criticising the report’s adherence to myths and innuendo, 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. You can read our valid critique of the WHO’s pitiful claims here.

Also in July, a government green paper containing recommendations towards vaping products was released. We felt that it was hastily drawn-up and described it as a “regulatory bull in a china shop approach” in our newsletter. We described on our blog here why the suggested proposals could “instantly remove the allure of safer products for many smokers.”.

AUGUST

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. 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.

August also saw our Vice Chair Louise Ross travel to Rio de Janeiro 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 reported that there was some opposition but “the audience when I talked about the UK experience were quietly encouraging”, which is a good reaction in a country where vaping is currently banned.

SEPTEMBER

September was a pivotal month in 2019 as the cacophony of misinformation on what was causing an outbreak of respiratory illnesses in the US reached mainstream media in the UK. We wrote on our blog that “illegal oil-based THC liquids bought from unregulated vendors in America” were to blame and that UK smokers, vapers and their relatives should take the hysterical scare stories with a pinch of salt. The situation is entirely different in the UK as we explained in a blog entitled “nothing to see here”, click here to read it.

ETHRA twitter header

In September, we also announced that we were now 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. Since that day, ETHRA has been actively spreading the message of harm reduction in our region and now boasts 20 partner organisations across the continent. You can read the launch briefing – including a quote from the NNA – at this link.

The end of the month 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 and wrote about the report in our news section here.

Towards the end of the month, NNA representatives Andy Morrison, Dave Cross and Louise Ross debated with workshop attendees at the final Priorities Setting Partnership for e-cigarette research, and Martin Cullip took part in a panel debate at Labour Party Conference in Brighton alongside Sir Kevin Barron MP on the subject of “Does Brexit present new opportunities for the vaping industry?”.

OCTOBER

October saw more party conference activity as NNA Associate Andy Morrison attended the Scottish National Party Conference in Aberdeen to comment on “Where next for vaping in Scotland” as part of a panel comprising two Members of the Scottish Parliament and a board member of the independent Vaporized vape shop chain.

AM SNP conference                                                                                                                       Andy Morrison at the SNP conference

Some much-needed common sense from the USA on the harm reduction front was announced in this month too. The Federal Drugs Administration (FDA) issued a judgement that eight snus smokeless tobacco products can be marketed with the claim that they are less harmful than smoking. NNA Trustee, Mark Oates, explained why this is an encouraging development which should shame the EU into following suit in our press release which you can read here.

NNA Trustees were also active spreading the word in other countries with NNA Trustee Sarah Jakes taking part in a round-table discussion by Turkish broadcaster TRT World which tackled many of the recent misleading stories about vaping, and which you can view in full here.

 SJ TRT

Meanwhile, Louise Ross travelled to Paris 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. Her comments even earned an airing in renowned French socialite magazine Paris Match which you can read here.

 NOVEMBER

In November, we wrote an open letter to London mayor Sadiq Khan after he spoke at the London General Assembly about reviewing rules on vape adverts on the London Underground system which you can read here. We highlighted that “vaping advertising is already prevalent on London buses, so it would seem consistent to also allow the same messages to be presented to travellers on tube trains too” and highlighting that the review should take into account that the Tobacco Control Plan for England recognised the benefits of smokers switching to e-cigarette.

We also found out in this month that Acas had, indeed, updated its advice on vaping in the workplace after our intervention at the UKVIA Forum in May. It is in no way perfect, but far better than it was previously. You can read the updated web page here.

Trustees were again active with NNA Trustee Mark Oates travelling to Sweden to address an event attended by a number of Swedish politicians on the subject “Politicians wouldn’t ban motorcycle helmets, so why do they ban safer nicotine products, such as snus?”   You can read about Mark's talk in Snusforumnet, here and view the video here.

Meanwhile, closer to home, Vice Chair, Louise Ross, addressed the 7th E-cigarette Summit and gave a presentation entitled “I had given up giving up’ – how smokers have reacted to a new gateway out of smoking” which is available to view here, and also wrote a letter to the Guardian rejecting ill-informed assertions from a selection of misguided paediatric professionals which had been published previously. Martin Cullip also took part in a panel discussion at Vaper Expo in Birmingham on the threats to vaping which could result from the panic emanating from the US. The stage debate can be viewed in full at this link.

 DECEMBER

The last month of 2019 was taken up with the general election and – with government dissolved and civil servants stifled by purdah – opportunities to advocate were non-existent. It is clear, though, that we face some major threats in the coming year, and we will be needing your help. Please read our article explaining why “this is no time for complacency, there are real threats coming and we are going to need you to put yourselves out to protect your right to choose safer nicotine products” which you can visit at this link.

The same theme was conveyed by our three Trustees who contributed to the Ashtray Blog’s annual December predictions article for the coming year which you can read here. Martin Cullip warned “don’t ever be complacent enough to think the battle is won here. Be prepared to do your bit if rumoured threats become real.”, Louise Ross predicted that “vast amounts of time will be spent fire-fighting – in health arenas, in politics, in the media and directly with consumers.”, and Dave Cross said that “it is inevitable that we will face further coordinated demands to restrict flavours here.”.

2019 has been a sinister year but there are further threats to come, we need to be on our guard, and we will be needing a concerted effort from consumers everywhere in 2020. Please enjoy your New Year celebrations and come back refreshed and ready to fight for what we know is right.

 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.

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 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 your own items 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.

Sign up as a NNA Supporter and encourage your friends and family to sign up too, by clicking here.

DONATE

 

 

 

 

NNA NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 2019

With a general election imminent, we are all awaiting what landscape harm reduction in the UK may face under a new administration. Options for engaging with policymakers have been sparse but the NNA has been engaging where we can, nonetheless. 2020 could present some major challenges for which we will have to be ready so please keep watching our website and social media for news very soon, we will be asking for your help.

For now, though, Christmas is almost upon us and the weather is getting chilly, so stay warm inside and read a round-up of what the NNA has been up to in November.

ACAS ACTION

Firstly, a good news update from our June newsletter where we reported that – after being contacted by Mark Pawsey MP – Acas had pledged to change their advice on vaping in the workplace that we had highlighted as being “desperately out-of-date” and containing “dubious – and often inaccurate – advice for employers”.

Chief Executive of Acas, Susan Clews, accepted at the time that “there is indeed grounds for improving Acas guidance on vaping” and promised 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”.

Their advice has since been updated and – while in no way perfect – is far better than it was prior to our input. Like all who are involved with human resources matters, Acas are very risk averse, but their guidance now cites sources such as Public Health England and the NHS and, crucially, makes a clear distinction between smoking and vaping which it had not done adequately before. We obviously welcome this and hope it leads to more sensible policies in both public and private sector workplaces in the future.

You can read Acas’s updated web page on e-cigarettes in the workplace here

YES, YOU KHAN

At the start of the month we noted that London’s mayor – Sadiq Khan – had been asked about vaping advertising on the London Underground system in his weekly Mayor’s questions session. He replied that such adverts were currently banned but that there was to be a review.

The NNA wrote an open letter to Mr Khan, observing that “vaping advertising is already prevalent on London buses, so it would seem consistent to also allow the same messages to be presented to travellers on tube trains too” and highlighting that the review should take into account that the Tobacco Control Plan for England recognised the benefits of smokers switching to e-cigarettes.

We received an acknowledgement and a promise to reply within 21 working days, which is imminent. Sadly, this hasn’t materialised at time of writing, but we will report back next month. You can read our open letter to the mayor here.

SUMMIT TO SAY

LR Summit

 

Stepping in at short notice, our Vice Chair, Louise Ross, addressed the 7th E-cigarette Summit and gave a presentation entitled “I had given up giving up’ – how smokers have reacted to a new gateway out of smoking”.

She updated attendees as to the continuing success of vaping in her area, while also addressing the touchy subject of vaping in pregnancy; differing perceptions to reduced risk products in different classes; accidental quitters and the damaging effect of hostile opinions from both the media and health professionals themselves.

She finished on an upbeat note of what she would like to see in the future, all customarily sensible, of course.

You can watch Louise’s presentation to the Summit at this link

LR Summit 2

SENSE IN SWEDEN

While Louise was in London preaching the good word to delegates at the Summit, NNA Trustee Mark Oates was in Sweden at a consumer and trade event attended by a number of Swedish politicians to give a talk entitled “Politicians wouldn’t ban motorcycle helmets, so why do they ban safer nicotine products, such as snus?”.

In a frank and entertaining presentation, Mark pointed out that tobacco harm reduction reduces risk vastly more than measures in other policy areas which are accepted worldwide. As a political researcher, he also explored why politicians are so resistant to innovative nicotine products, insisting that harm reduction should be a cross-party issue and that – with snus particularly – there is already a culture of snus use as a replacement to smoking in the UK which should be encouraged, not prohibited.

He also spoke about how the upcoming election could shape a more welcoming approach to snus and vaping, not just in the UK but elsewhere too, which is eminently relevant right now and therefore well worth a watch. You can see his presentation in full here

LETTER BOXING

LR letter

Our Vice Chair Louise Ross also sprang into action after an appalling letter by a selection of misguided paediatric professionals was published in the Guardian declaring that “we cannot sit back and accept a blanket message from Public Health England that vaping is 95% less harmful than tobacco smoking”.

Louise wrote a response stating that the original letter was “an argument based on error and supposition” and that it would be more helpful to “consider the positive effect of parents who smoked switching to vaping”. You can read her response in full here.

Louise has also been meeting stop smoking service providers this month to encourage them to be more confident about including vaping in their offer to smokers who choose to stop. Recently, she has visited Derbyshire, Greater Manchester and the Medway area to reach those who would like to embrace vaping but have still to shake off the myth of the “scourge of nicotine addiction”. All this from someone who describes herself as retired!

LET'S GO EXPO

Lastly, the NNA’s Martin Cullip, Jessica Harding, Andy Morrison and Sue Wilson attended the Vaper Expo at the NEC in Birmingham at the turn of the month. It was when the threat of flavour vaping bans was at its height and Martin was invited to take part in a panel discussion alongside John Dunne of the UKVIA and Dan Marchant of VapeBase and VapeClub. The event was filmed and you can watch it here.

 Expo

TOMORROW'S NEWS TODAY

The Ashtray blog’s annual predictions for the new year have become a seasonal regular at this time of year and our Chair, Martin Cullip, has already sent his submission for 2020 which, to the surprise of no-one, had to take into account the shameful misleading scare stories coming out of the US. Most predictions from last year’s offerings – including Martin’s – were derailed by the shocking behaviour of American politicians and other vested interests across the Atlantic. You can read what was predicted last year from 17 vaping voices at this link.

Apart from that, as things wind down into the Christmas season there is not a great deal coming up, suffice to say that we should all prepare for a momentous year in 2020 where there will be a great deal for consumers to get involved with, both here and abroad. We hope you enjoy the holiday period and get refreshed for more battles ahead. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our supporters.

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 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.

eBay

 

Sign up as a NNA Supporter and encourage your friends and family to sign up too, by clicking here.

 

DONATE

 

 

 

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.

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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.    

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