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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.

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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

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.

We regularly 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.

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

.

Donate to NNA

 

April has been another fairly busy month for the NNA right from day one and through to Easter and beyond. Some eggsellent news but also some bad including a stinker of a policy proposal from Hong Kong which is no yolk (we’ll get our coats). There is a theme of education this month, though, here is a rundown of our activities.

NOT FOOLING AROUND

The second annual VApril campaign launched on 1st April and the NNA was involved in the build-up by writing a “Switch on to vaping plan” which you can read and download here. The launch took place in a building in Covent Garden which was entirely covered outside with the VApril logo and inside with the plan’s themes and graphics. TV’s Dr Christian Jessen is the face of the campaign this year, as in 2018, and he spoke at the launch alongside John Dunne of the UKVIA and NNA Chair Martin Cullip.

Snip

Martin Cullip with Dr Christian Jessen at the VApril launch

On the day, the public was invited to come into the building, view some literature about vaping, be educated about the possibilities of switching and to try some vaping products. This was far from an April Fool’s Day stunt.

This year the event has gone global with similarly branded campaigns in South Africa, France and Australia amongst other countries, and all were directing smokers to our tips for how to successfully switch to vaping if they choose to quit tobacco. You can read our thoughts on this year’s VApril campaign on our blog article here.  

ROSS ON WHY

NNA Trustee Louise Ross was customarily busy once again. At the beginning of the month she featured prominently in an article at the widely-read Ashtray Blog on why stop smoking services should be receptive to e-cigarettes and how they can go about making harm reduction a success for their clients. Drawing on her experience as head of the Leicester Stop Smoking Service, she explained how a vape-friendly scheme could operate as well as providing a helpful checklist to encourage other services to enjoy similar results. You can read her sage advice here.

Later in the month, Louise also wrote in support of e-cigarettes being sold in pharmacies in The Pharmaceutical Journal. Opposed by a researcher who contributed the usual innuendo and suspicion about safer nicotine devices, Louise set out the positive case for pharmacies to play a role in educating smokers about the potential of vaping instead.

“Pharmacists have the chance to influence smokers when conducting medicines use reviews or when they have the opportunity to give brief advice to clients when dispensing medicines. These opportunities shouldn’t go to waste.”

You can read the full debate here.

WRONG IN HONG KONG

Sadly, this month we saw an appalling policy being proposed by the Legislative Council of Hong Kong. Seduced by the siren voices of doom about e-cigarettes, they issued a consultation on plans to criminalise import and possession of vaping devices to which we responded, you can read it here. Combustible tobacco will still be legal throughout Hong Kong so the proposed law would prohibit safer nicotine products while protecting sales of the most harmful.

We wrote about the lack of thought which has gone into this policy and warned 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, including our government’s Tobacco Control Plan.

“The Legislative Council may well believe that they are doing the right thing with their proposals, but criminalising possession of products designed to help smokers quit tobacco is in direct contrast to their stated aim to 'discourage smoking, contain the proliferation of tobacco use and minimise the impact of passive smoking on the public'.”

Vaping360 and Planet of the Vapes both picked up on our concerns that up to 35,000 UK tourists could be at threat, which you can read here and here.  We also published a blog article on the subject here

JAM SESSION

The 2019 Vape Jam expo took place from the 11th to 13th of April and the NNA was represented by Martin Cullip, Jessica Harding, Associate Andy Morrison and ably assisted by supporters Doug Phillips and Niamh O’Farrell. As well as one of the crew manning our stand in the Modders Block, Martin was invited to take part in a panel debate on the main stage about responsible marketing. It was a feisty affair at times which attracted a healthy crowd of vapers to hear about the practicalities of regulations and there were some very astute questions asked afterwards.

 

Vape Jam panel event

Panel event at Vape Jam

The organisers, Maria and P Vaper, once again very kindly gave us a stand and organised the raffle for us and we are very grateful for all the support from exhibitors and consumers alike at the event. It went very well, and we really enjoyed meeting so many of you there. 

There was even an opportunity for Andy Morrison to help educate a rather unusual equine visitor, who was very interested in some of our literature. 

Andy meets a zebra

SCHOOLING IN SCOTLAND

Andy Morrison was also in attendance at the 5th annual Glasgow School of Vape this past weekend, which greeted over 75 vapers in its new home of The Woods Bar in Waterloo Street. Andy reports that organisers, Eddy Black, Arthur Watson and their team pulled out all the stops to make this event another success. A wide range of vendors, old and new, supported the event along with prominent vape reviewers and Andy gratefully accepted another batch of NNA battery wraps from our good friend Jim Donaghy (Torchy the Battery Boy). Several of these wraps were distributed to vendors and customers alike.

All in all, a good time was had. Andy welcomed the opportunity to re-connect with supporters and meet many new people who were keen to discuss NNA and what we will be doing going forward. There are already rumblings of GSOV 5.1 being organised for some time in the summer of this year, so if you are local to Glasgow, watch out for that. We would like to thank the organisers for making NNA welcome. We look forward to joining you again soon.

THEY NEED YOU!

A new searchable resource has been created which aims to catalogue vape shops all over the country. Described as “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”, the UK Vape Store Locator is building a map of all shops in the UK and could do with your help. You can follow the project on social media here and suggest shops for the publicly available database here. It is not affiliated to or sponsored by industry and operates as a not-for-profit resource for vapers independent of any trade association.

PARISH NOTICE

As you may have noticed, the NNA now has a new Chair as Sarah Jakes has stepped down to concentrate on family issues after an outstanding period at the helm. We are saddened to lose her undoubted talent as Chair, but she will continue as a Trustee so we will still benefit from her considerable expertise. Needless to say, this will not affect direction for the NNA, Trustees have a very active role in running the organisation so while personnel might change, our messaging and aims will not.

TOMORROW'S NEWS TODAY

Preparations are already in hand for the Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw in June, and the NNA is planning to submit a poster for the event showcasing the VApril campaign literature that we helped to produce. For the first time this year the GFN  will be supporting a charity, and we are delighted that NNA has been chosen. A raffle will be held there, with all proceeds going to NNA.  If you have any suitable prizes you could donate do please let us know.  The GFN is well-attended by consumers from around the world and we will have more news in next month’s update.

The UKVIA is holding its annual Forum on May 9th and NNA will be in attendance. Last year, former NNA Chairs Sarah Jakes and Gerry Stimson took part in a debate with Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, Norman Lamb. Parliamentarians are again scheduled to be at the event this year, and we expect to be providing a speaker too which presents a good opportunity to advance the consumer cause to influential politicians and industry alike. Watch this space.

UKVIA forum 2018

Panel with Sarah Jakes, Professor Lynne Dawkins, Norman Lamb MP, Dan Marchant and Professor Gerry Stimson at the UKVIA Forum in 2018

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.
Last month we highlighted 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.

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As we put our clocks forward and look forward to lighter evenings in the UK, there is plenty of activity upcoming in the area of tobacco harm reduction, some good, some bad. This month’s newsletter touches on some of these happenings and NNA activity.

ACTION STATIONS!

We start with ominous news coming from the EU, where Health Commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis, who has in the past described e-cigarettes as “a danger to public health”, has been giving his thoughts about a review of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) which could come as early as this year.

In an interview with Euractiv this month, Andriukaitis says that “If one uses electronic cigarettes as a method to stop smoking, it has to be managed by medical doctors and specialists, to be sold in pharmacies and not in supermarkets.”. It seems clear that he rejects the terms of the TPD and is determined to go back in time to reverse even the small concessions that vapers earned the last time the EU wanted to medicalise reduced risk consumer products. His words cannot be taken lightly considering he wields a lot of power, no matter how ignorant his understanding of the subject, especially since his deputy recently compared vaping to poison.

The NNA will be monitoring messages coming out of Brussels and you can be assured that if unwise ideas such as Andriukaitis’s begin to look like a real threat, we will be doing our best to co-ordinate a call to action to once again to head it off. Stay alert and keep an eye on our website and social media, we could be in for another arduous battle against the EU and the nefarious activists who advise them, and we’d need all the help we can muster from you to do so.

 EFVI hand

BLESS THE BRAINS DOWN IN AFRICA

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 this month, meeting with representatives of the Campaign for Safer Alternatives in Africa and THR Malawi while there.

CASA cakeThe Campaign for Safer Alternatives is launched in Nairobi

Africa presents a drastically different landscape than here; alternative nicotine products are not widely available and are out of reach for most people due to being expensive and - in Malawi - many don’t even have access to electricity. Snus seems a much more appropriate product, especially as tobacco leaves are readily accessible.  Due to tobacco presenting Malawi with 60% of its GDP, the crop is called “the green god” and any discussions on tobacco need to be very sensitive to the fact that the economy relies on it. In another contrast to the UK, there are no tobacco control measures, to the extent that many people aren’t aware that smoking is unhealthy, let alone what to expect when they stop smoking, and nicotine replacement therapy is scarcely available. It is clear that global tobacco control organisations are failing Africa and there is a real need for education around alternatives.

meeting with tobacco farmersMeeting with tobacco farmers near Lilongwe, Malawi

MAY SHE BE SO BOLD

This month, NNA trustee Louise Ross has been particularly busy. She was part of a panel talking to stop smoking practitioners, healthcare workers and commissioners about how the use of vaping could accelerate the fall in smoking rates in the Wirral. Along with Professor Peter Hajek, Dr Alex Bobak, Elizabeth Woodworth, the local stop smoking lead and the Wirral Director of Public Health, Louise helped answer many thought-provoking questions to the audience.

Louise reported that the stop smoking team were well-informed already about e-cigarettes and confident about getting smokers to switch. In the post-event discussion, some healthcare workers told Louise about the personal battles they had fought and won to get colleagues to understand the benefits of being positive about vaping. One practitioner had heard Louise talk before and had gone back to work determined to act on what she had learned, which was very encouraging.

Louise also submitted the common-sense answer to the question “should the use of e-cigarettes be encouraged among smokers?” in the Nursing Times this month. It is disappointing that anyone could disagree with this suggestion – especially amongst health professionals – but the debate-style article featured one such individual, nonetheless. You can read the arguments for and against here.

As if that wasn’t enough, Louise was also 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 below or at this link and hear her views on what is happening in America, prefaced with the very British “my advice to the United States, if I may be so bold”. Well worth a watch.

Louise Ross Filter vid

VAPING AND THE HOMELESS

There is a lot of work being done behind the scenes about vaping and homeless populations. Studies are being undertaken by some institutions and the NNA is active in this area with Trustee David MacKintosh holding discussions about the subject with key individuals tasked with helping those who live on the streets. There is not much we can say about it just yet but we are pleased to be consulted on what is a very important policy area.

THEY NEED YOU!

The NNA has been publicising a call for people willing to take part in a study by University College London on possible health effects of vaping or using a heat-not-burn device. Participants will have to attend one or two sessions in London but will be remunerated with Amazon vouchers and reimbursement of expenses as is customary with public health studies of this type. Planet of the Vapes has published all the details here so if you are close to London, do consider putting yourself forward.

UCL

TOMORROW'S NEWS TODAY

The second VApril campaign led by the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) is launching on 1st April and the NNA has been involved to help produce a “Switch on to vaping plan” which you can read here. By the time you read this the campaign will be well under way, but it is technically still future news for a March newsletter. You can read our thoughts on VApril on our blog article here

Are you jamming with us this year? Vape Jam 2019 takes place from the 11th to 13th of April and the NNA will again be well represented.  Martin Cullip, Bernice Evans Jessica Harding and Andy Morrison will be there so please come to the NNA stand to say hello. The organisers have once again very kindly organised the raffle for us - a big  thank you to Maria and P Vaper! We will be selling raffle tickets for prizes which - in past years - have included Frankenskull mods, Amber mods, SVA mods and many others.

Vape Jam lot 1 2018Lot 1 in the 2018 Vape Jam raffle

Trustee Martin Cullip will also be participating in a panel debate at the event organised with UKVIA. Topics discussed will include: vaping awareness; what does responsible marketing look like; and how can we get the message about vaping to the UK’s smokers. We hope to see many of you there so please swing by our stall if you are planning to attend.

Lastly, the 5th Glasgow School of Vape is taking place at the Woods Bar, 29 Waterloo Street, Glasgow G2 6BZ on 28th April from midday till 11pm, NNA Associate Andy Morrison will be in attendance and you will be welcome to join him. The event aims to bring vapers together with other vapers and retailers and seeks to be a place where beginners and veterans can learn and teach. There will be a selection of Scotland's top vendors there and food (Including vegan and vegetarian) will be available throughout the day. If you require any other information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or find their event page on Facebook. Please note that it is a strictly over 18s event.

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.

You can effortlessly donate to the NNA if you shop via the Amazon Smile page and select NNA as your charity:  start 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

Write to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,  or via Twitter @NNAlliance, or via our Facebook page if you can donate something for us to raffle or list on eBay. 

 

DONATE TO NEW NICOTINE ALLIANCE HERE

EFVI image credit Krisztian Pifko http://www.efvi.eu/

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