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.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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