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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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