Christmas is coming, and the goose is getting fat! But the NNA’s coffers aren’t so please note two ways of donating via online sources at the foot of this newsletter. Plenty has been going on in risk reduction policy this month so here’s a round-up of what the NNA has been up to in November.
SIGNS THEY ARE A'CHANGIN
The highlight of the month was undoubtedly a new report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Vaping calling for better workplace policies. The document made five policy recommendations, all of them positive towards vaping, the most striking of which being a call for the government to lead by example and make the parliamentary estate vape-friendly.
As you would expect, this created much media interest with articles appearing in the Daily Mail and The Sun – which quoted our press reaction at length - and many local syndicated news outlets. NNA Trustee Martin Cullip and Administrator Jessica Harding both gave evidence to the APPG’s hearings and were referenced in the report itself, which you can read in full here.
The report was launched in the House of Commons on the 20th November and NNA Chair Sarah Jakes was invited to speak alongside Mark Pawsey MP and Dr Lynne Dawkins of South Bank University. Sarah took the opportunity to congratulate the APPG on their research and spoke of her pride that this country stands out for its “unique meeting of minds between consumers, public health, politicians and industry” which is driving impressive declines in smoking prevalence in the UK. However, she also warned that there is still much to do and that unnecessary and irresponsible vaping bans are a barrier to better understanding of safer products so the APPG’s recommendation of a vape-friendly parliamentary estate could be a guiding light to other private policy-makers.
Sarah concluded by presenting Mark Pawsey with a considerate vaping welcome sign on behalf of the NNA with a promise to supply more once changes to Westminster’s workplace policy have been approved.
You can read our press release welcoming the APPG’s report here.
On the flipside, there was bad news from Luxembourg where the European Court of Justice – as expected – ignored common sense and ruled to maintain the reckless ban on snus in the EU. Basing its decision on the EU’s right to prohibit oral tobacco rather than judging on the ban’s effect on the health of EU citizens, it was a rubber-stamping exercise which will perpetuate a situation where other member states are prevented from emulating Sweden’s startlingly low smoking rate.
The NNA were intervenors in the case and NNA Trustee Gerry Stimson commented that “the snus case outcome is disappointing. We have lost this battle but will continue to campaign, we have established good links with EU snus campaign groups including #EUforsnus which will serve us well in the future.”.
In the aftermath, Gerry was interviewed by John Nicolson on Talk Radio:
We also branded the ECJ’s ruling “scandalous” and “a blow to the public health of EU citizens” in our press release in reaction to the judgement which you can read here.
THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU SMOKE-FREE
On the 12th of November, we heard the great news from the Advertising Standards Authority that marketing for vaping products will be permitted to make certain health claims as to the reduction in risk compared to smoking, their ruling can be seen online here. The NNA took part in the consultation prior to this announcement so we were pleased that our view was supported by the ASA. A review of the consultation responses is available here.
We welcomed the report by the ASA, commenting on our website that “a situation whereby public health organisations can make these claims but those marketing the products are not was clearly absurd, especially since even the most virulent detractors of e-cigarettes cannot challenge the fact that vaping is far safer than smoking”. You can read the full blog article here.
SUMMIT OLD, SUMMIT NEW
Starting a busy seven days for NNA Chair Sarah Jakes in advance of the APPG report, she was invited back to the sixth E-Cigarette Summit on 15th November to follow up on her keynote speech from last year. Her focus this time round was to call for a new approach towards vaping and other safer nicotine products.
She reminded public health delegates at the conference that “misperceptions are harmful in more ways than one. They breed intolerance, which supports restrictive policy, which in turn creates more misperceptions and more intolerance. Is it any wonder that many smokers don’t see the point of switching?”. We issued a press release on the morning of the summit and you can read a full transcript and watch Sarah’s speech here.
Sarah was also named as co-author of a study by University of East Anglia on the lesser relapse rates of vaping as compared to quitting by other methods. Led by Caitlin Notley, the research found that the advent of e-cigarettes means that public health needs to look at changing the way they assess the likelihood of relapse. Commenting on the research, Notley explained “there has been a lot of theorising around the process of smoking relapse after quit attempts. But all of these date back to pre-vaping times. This fresh evidence makes us question the usefulness of that understanding now that so many people are choosing to switch to vaping.”. You can read the study here.
TALLINN IT LIKE IT IS
On 8th November a delegation of tobacco harm reduction experts travelled to the Estonian Parliament in the capital, Tallinn, to share information about the potential of e-cigarettes to improve the health of the country’s smoking population. Estonia currently subjects vaping products to punitive taxes and flavours will be banned from next July. The delegation – invited by NNA Estonia - discovered that family doctors are heavily restricted on what they can tell their patients. Peter Hajek, Martin Jarvis, Karl Snæbjörnsson and NNA Trustee Louise Ross made up the group. We can but hope that their sage advice on the positive role safer products can play was heeded by leaders of one of the EU’s most restrictive member states.
We welcome new associates to the NNA this month in the form of Judy Gibson and Jukka Kelovuori. We are very pleased to have them aboard. By way of exchange, Sarah Jakes is now a member of the INNCO board.
We also announced this month that trustee Louise Ross has been appointed lead on mental health for the NNA, offering advice and support for staff and service users in mental health circles.
BACK UP FROM DOWN UNDER
NNA trustee Paddy Costall spent much of this month touring the other side of the world. During his time there he met with both Charles Yates, the new Chair of NNA Australia, and Colin Mendelsohn and Alex Wodak, from the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association and discussed their involvement in GFN and what the key issues are for them about KAC plans to hold a GSTHR Roadshow in Australia, in February next year.
In New Zealand Paddy met with Jan Walsh and Steve Dohmen, from AVCA, and discussed again how the involvement of NZ consumers in international advocacy might best be supported. He also had the opportunity to meet with a number of vendors and was impressed by their professionalism and understanding of the issues facing consumers. While in Hong Kong he met with Nancy Sutthoff from INNCO and others, to discuss the current state of consumer advocacy in the Asia-Pacific region. Phew!
THEY WANT YOU!
Online survey into vaping at workplaces, from Dr Charlotte Smith and Professor Jason Hughes at Leicester University and funded by CRUK. This takes about 10 minutes to complete and the survey is here:
Dual user study, for people who smoke and vape, conducted by Professor Peter Hajek at Queen Mary University. This involves telephone interviews and giving saliva samples.
For more details on both of these please see Planet of the Vapes “Vapers Required” here.
TOMORROW'S NEWS TODAY
As things wind down into the Christmas season there is not a great deal on the immediate horizon but NNA trustees will be attending an official launch of Knowledge Action Change’s Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction at the House of Commons on the 18th December. This was released during COP8 in Geneva in October and is an interesting and useful snapshot of current regulatory approaches towards safer nicotine products around the world. To view the report and other #GSTHR resources, go to the dedicated website here.
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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