NNA Chair Sarah Jakes States The Case For HNB Products To Be Sold Alongside E-Cigarettes
In an explosive interview Sarah Jakes the Chair of the New Nicotine Alliance explains why the advocacy charity not only supports the use of heat not burn products to quit smoking but says vape shops should openly sell them alongside e-cigarettes.
If you’re thinking I’m exaggerating by using the word ‘explosive’ – using phrases such as ‘conspiracy theories‘ and my personal favourite ‘bollocks with knobs on‘ shows the lady is not for turning or as debating opponents go – not one to be messed with 😉
It’s tough talking and literally shooting from the hip as she takes on the truths and myths surrounding the devices and says it’s not Heat Not Burn products that’s threatening to split the vaping advocacy movement apart – but blinkered advocates.
In my piece: Heat Not Burn Products – Are They Splitting the Vape Scene Already? I called for a debate and Sarah has responded and really upped the anti!
She’s most definitely set out clearly the NNA’s stance on supporting HNB products and has said the arguments against them currently raging between prominent YouTube reviewers and bloggers as playing straight into the hands of Big Tobacco.
And as for the recent ‘tit for tat‘ insults being bandied between the two sides – she calls this ‘appalling‘.
And by the way if you’ve wondered why I’ve made no mention of the Electronic Cigarettes (Regulation) Bill (HC Bill 59) before – it’s because experience told me it was a dead duck [as most of those bills are] and I didn’t want to give ‘false hope‘ – or maybe even create a kind of ‘fake news‘ moment – indeed I explained that in a comment on our Facebook page.
OK buckle up this is going to get bumpy to say the least.
What is the NNA’s stance on Heat Not Burn Products?
NNA supports Heat not Burn products as a safer alternative to smoking.
Some risk reduced products such as snus and Heat not Burn contain tobacco, but tobacco is not the enemy, the harm from smoking combusted tobacco is.
You can read more about our stance on reduced risk products including Heat not Burn here: Why the NNA Supports All Forms of Tobacco Harm Reduction
Is iQOS a tobacco product and should it be treated the same as an e-cigarette?
Yes, of course iQOS is a tobacco product.
It falls within the definition of a ‘novel tobacco product’ in the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations (‘TRPR’). The regulations which apply to novel tobacco products are in some ways more onerous than those which apply to e-cigarettes and in some ways less so, so they are already treated differently – but the differences appear to be arbitrary and not evidence based.
We would prefer to see both product categories regulated according to their potential risk, and in a way that encourages smokers to switch to them. Whilst vaping is estimated to be at least 95% safer than smoking, heat not burn is reckoned to be around 90% safer at the moment.
Should they be sold in vape shops online or in bricks and mortar shops?
It is entirely up to the individual business owners whether or not they sell Heat not Burn devices.
There are some ridiculous stories going around at the moment about vape shops in England being fined by local authorities for not having a “tobacco sales licence” for selling iQOS.
This is bollocks with knobs on. There is no such thing as a tobacco sales licence in England, and whilst Scotland does have a tobacco retailers register, neither England or Wales have one yet.
What advice would you give to vape shops considering selling them?
If you want to sell them sell them.
Make sure you comply with the regulations which apply to novel tobacco products in your locality.
Advise your customers that whilst there is not yet much independent science on Heat not Burn, it does appear to be significantly safer than smoking and some smokers find it a more acceptable alternative to smoking than vaping. It’s also a lot more expensive!
What advice would you give to smokers looking to quit and wanting to try them?
Do you think the arrival of HNB products is splitting vaping advocacy apart?
No, I think vape advocates are splitting vaping advocacy apart. What is emerging is two groups, one of whom will pay lip service to other risk reduced products but really only supports vaping, and the other which supports a range of risk reduced products which may include tobacco products.
What is the NNA’s thoughts about high profile vapers/advocates publicly rowing about HNB?
The things which have been said recently are quite frankly appalling.
The suggestion that those advocates who support Heat not Burn alongside vaping are only doing so because they’re “in the back pocket of PMI” is wholly offensive, not to mention utterly facile in terms of advocacy strategy.
Our enemies in tobacco control love to write us off as shills for ‘Big Tobacco’, and here are vape advocates using the same dubious and diversionary tactic. Let’s leave the conspiracy theories and fantasy to those opposed to us instead of creating them ourselves.
Anything you’d like to add about the whole HNB vs Vaping debate?
Yes, there are a few myths that need busting:
Myth: There was a ‘party line’ among vape advocates that Heat not Burn should never have a place in vape shops and that has been reversed because of iQOS.
Truth: In five years of advocacy I’ve never heard a front line advocate tell a shop what category of products it should or shouldn’t sell.
Myth: Some advocates not only support Heat not Burn but are pushing vape shops to start stocking iQOS in their shop.
Truth: Some advocates believe that iQOS has a valid place in the tobacco harm reduction landscape and that shops should sell them if they want to.
You Can’t Smoke A Heet
Myth: iQOS (PMI) are bribing vape shops to stock and sell iQOS.
Truth: All suppliers offer incentives to retailers to stock and sell their products. That’s how the retail business works.
Myth: iQOS is a toaster that you plug a cigarette into. Heets are cigarettes.
Truth: Heets are small cylinders that contain a mouthpiece which resembles a filter and a very small plug of tobacco which is heated by a blade in the device.
That’s where the similarity stops. You can’t smoke a Heet, nor would you want to because they’d be gone in a couple of puffs, which would make them more expensive to use than cigarettes.
HC Bill 59 Will Die A Natural Death
Myth: iQOS being sold in vape shops will kill the bill in parliament which aims to remove e-cigarettes from the TRPR.
Truth: Where to start…the bill is one of 47, yes you read that right, 47 introduced by Chris Chope MP. He and Peter Bone MP introduced 73 between them. They cover subjects as diverse as school class sizes, working time regulations, council tax for caravans, the classification of fruit and vegetables and of course e-cigarettes.
The bill was a Private Members Bill (PMB) introduced by Chope ‘by presentation’. The parliamentary website has a useful guide on how PMBs are introduced here: Private Members Bills.
Specifically, this is the guidance on PMBs introduced by presentation:
“Any Member may introduce a Bill in this way as long as he or she has previously given notice of their intention to do so. Members formally introduce the title of the Bill but do not speak in support of it – they rarely become law.”
This bill will die a natural death. MPs use them simply to highlight areas of policy that they believe requires discussion with a view to review or revision. It is simply the politically polite way to stand up in parliament and say ‘look at this crap’.
There is never any expectation that they will pass into law.
Generally, it is unfortunate that some vaping advocates cannot see past their own preferred product category.
This is no different to those who wish to protect the pharmaceutical monopoly on nicotine replacement by insisting that e-cigarettes should be regulated as medicines.
It’s a variation on a theme: ‘Quit my way or die’.
My Final Thoughts
Has she convinced me to do my own 180 and support the sale of HNB alongside vaping products?
I still think there’s A LOT of scientific research to be done before I go along with the party line [created by HNB in house scientists] that they are indeed 90% safer than normal cigarettes.
And to that end selling them alongside what we know ARE substantially safer is a little early for me.
Of course like the vast majority of vapers and advocates I’m all for anything safe that works to get smokers off the cancer sticks. But for me the jury is still out on HNB products and nope I don’t think until we have substantive independent peer reviewed research that they are – they should indeed be in a different category and NOT sold in vape shops.
I keep coming back to Professor David Harrison, Chair of the UK Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COC) – and what he told UK MPs:
It is exactly the same chemicals that you would find in cigarette smoke—combustion.
Some of those chemicals do not require combustion to be available, such as nitrosamines.
The combustion is about the quantity of chemical released, and they shift the balance, but the chemicals are essentially the same as other chemicals you would expect from cigarette smoking, which have the potential to cause mutations and, ultimately, cancer.
But I will say this Sarah has certainly given me a lot of food for thought and I hope she has you too.
OK let’s keep the debate going in comments and of course if you’re one of the advocates or YouTube reviewers affected by this interview – please contact me for an interview: neilh at ecigclick.co.uk – as always your quotes will go in unedited.
I have a feeling this might get a few of you hungry to respond 😉