As the nights get darker, the NNA is still working hard to focus more light on reduced risk products and we have had another very busy month. September’s news had an international feel, but with UK politicians and public health back in the swing after summer recess there is lots more to do domestically as well as elsewhere and, as you will read, NNA representatives are prominent in all of it.
OLD HANDS, NEW TRICKS
This month saw the launch of a new resource from the National Centre for Smoking Cessation Training (NCSCT) aimed at advising smokers how to “stay switched” using e-cigarettes. It is sub-titled “Advice for new vapers from old hands” and was produced in collaboration with the NNA, University of East Anglia and Cancer Research UK.
The two-page flyer offers many tips for new vapers as to how they can continue to enjoy safer nicotine use without the harm of combustion, covering topics such as experimenting with flavours, what to do when cravings get too strong, and correcting false assumptions about frequency of use. You can view and download the flier here.
As you can imagine, the document reflects the experiences of seasoned vapers who have all been through the same journey that we hope many other smokers might successfully negotiate after reading this advice. It will be distributed to stop smoking services around the country and we were pleased to be able to lend a hand, however ‘old’ we may be.
KAC, led by Gerry Stimson and Paddy Costall, launched a ground-breaking new report on October 2nd entitled No Fire, No Smoke: The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction in Geneva, to coincide with a major biennial tobacco control summit.
The report maps the global uptake of safer nicotine products, the global regulatory response, and set out the right to access safer nicotine products, you can read the report at the website here. Our administrator Jessica Harding assisted with distributing 200 copies to delegates attending Conference of Parties (COP8), the eighth meeting of countries which have ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. You can view the launch of the report here.
Jessica also manged to gain access to the COP8 meeting along with several other consumer representatives and members of INNCO (the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organizations) – until the conference decided on the afternoon of the first day to exclude members of the public, as is customary. Consumers from around the world – Jessica amongst them – then held a demonstration outside the Palais de Nations, the main UN building on a particularly pleasant and sunny autumn day in Switzerland, hence the sunglasses. Let’s hope that delegates to COP8 take on board harm reduction options and that the future may be also be bright for smokers being able to transition to safer products worldwide.
EXPLAIN IN SPAIN
This month also saw the first ever tobacco harm reduction conference take place in Spain and NNA Trustees Louise Ross and Gerry Stimson travelled over to Barcelona on the 19th as invited guest speakers. The event was organised by ANESVAP, the Spanish vaping consumer organisation, and MOVE the Spanish medical workers organisation in support of vaping.
We were proud to be involved in such a bold new initiative. You can watch Louise’s presentation here and Gerry’s here. We wish ANESVAP every success with future events and hope that Spain will soon also see further benefits that reduced risk product can offer for the health of their public.
MAD IN THE MIRROR
Just over a week ago, there was massive media interest in a story that tobacco company, Philip Morris, had persuaded the Daily Mirror to cover its print edition with a wraparound advert for their “Hold My Light” campaign to encourage smokers to quit. A tobacco company embarking on what is effectively a smoking cessation campaign was controversial, to say the least, and attracted many negative responses from public health organisations.
We commented on this on our blog where we argued that - while recognising that the campaign can be viewed as disingenuous while the company still sells billions of cigarettes in other jurisdictions - that “there is no value in automatically gainsaying anything industry does. If this initiative comes up short the country will have lost nothing but, if it succeeds, there will be more former smokers who will have found a way out of the habit”.
We were also very encouraged that the company chose the UK to trial the campaign, remarking that “this is a recognition that the UK is a world leader in employing risk reduction in health policy and that the future here is in non-combustible products” which we are pleased to have had a hand in by engaging with health groups over the past few years. You can read our blog, entitled “It shouldn't matter who makes safer products” here.
Sarah discussed some of the issues around the campaign with Phil Upton on BBC Radio Coventry, you can listen to that here, from 2:39 in.
THE PEN IS MIGHTIER
We also blogged this month on a letter sent by Italian consumer organisation, ANPVU, to their government to protest vastly counter-productive regulations and taxes on vaping. Italy’s Constitutional Court, incredibly, declared that “the recovery of revenue eroded by the electronic cigarette market” is a perfectly valid policy option, but we argued that “it is quite shameful that the Italian government can so blatantly put tax receipts above the health of their population”. You can read our full blog and excerpts from ANPVU’s letter here.
The NNA featured in the Filter this month too as Jessica Harding wrote an excellent long-form piece about why vaping isn’t about business, it is about vapers. She argues that when governments talk about public health, “people who use tobacco harm reduction products are and always should be at the centre of this conversation”. This should be a given but too many jurisdictions exclude consumers from policy discussions altogether, this must change. You can read Jessica’s article here.
NEWS TRAVELS FAST
The NNA made a surprise appearance in the London Evening Standard in early October after NNA Trustee, Martin Cullip, featured on two panel discussions at Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, as reported in our future news last month. His revelation that polling done by E-Cigarette Direct at the time of the Brexit referendum showed a large majority of vapers in favour of leaving the EU pricked up the ears of journalists eager for new angles on the story. It didn’t take long for this previously obscure statistic to travel down from Birmingham to be read by many thousands of weary London commuters. You can read the Standard’s Diary page here.
CALL TO THE TROOPS
We have been asked to contribute to a survey by a dental organisation to assess what their priorities should be for research into Oral and Dental Health. One of the questions is “Should dental professionals recommend e-cigarettes?”. The survey can be undertaken here, you know what to do.
TOMORROW'S NEWS TODAY
Louise Ross has had a very busy month on a whistle stop tour of the north west advocating vaping to people interested in learning more, supported by Chris Baxter, Graham Entwhistle and Adam Williams. She has also met Brazilian policy-makers along with NNA Chair Sarah Jakes and has now been invited to speak at the NNA Smoke-Free Estonia Association’s forthcoming tobacco harm reduction parliamentary forum at the Estonia Parliament on November 7th.
Louise speaking to public health professionals in Preston, image credit Chris Baxter
Sarah Jakes has also been invited to speak at the launch of a new report on vaping policies in the House of Commons on 20th November, organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on E-cigarettes led by Mark Pawsey MP and will also be speaking at the 6th annual E-Cigarette Summit, in London on 15th November.
Additionally, an announcement on the snus case in front of the ECJ is expected on 22nd November. For news on this follow @NNAlliance and #EUforSnus onTwitter, or join EUforSnus on Facebook, which now boasts nearly 4,000 members - astonishing for an advocacy group, even more so when it’s for users of a product which cannot be sold in 27 EU member states. We hope that sense will prevail, but expectations are low.
More news on these will be shared, as usual, the moment we receive it.
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.
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