Sarah_Jakes nna
Sarah Jakes Chair of the NNA

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.

IQOS Available to buy in the UKShould 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?

As above.

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.

Electronic Cigarettes (Regulation) Bill (HC Bill 59)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

Wow lol.

Has she convinced me to do my own 180 and support the sale of HNB alongside vaping products?

Not yet.

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.

Professor David Harrison, Chair of the UK Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COC)
Professor David Harrison, Chair of the UK Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COC)

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 lets 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 – as always your quotes will go in unedited.

I have a feeling this might get a few of you hungry to respond 😉

neil Humber 2
Neil Humber

I have simpler vape tastes these days - I never leave home without a Caliburn G, a Vaporesso Luxe 40 or Innokin EQ FLTR and a CBD vape pen or bottle of CBD drops in my rucksack...or indeed an Aspire Nautilus Prime X in my pocket... At home I'll be using various mods topped with the GeekVape Zeus X RTA or the Signature Mods Mono SQ topped with the Augvape BTFC RDA... I'm a former journalist and now a writer and sometimes author... I'm ex Army - adore dogs and never happier than hiking over the hills or with a good book on a beach.

I have simpler vape tastes these days - I never leave home without a Caliburn G, a Vaporesso Luxe 40 or Innokin EQ FLTR and a CBD vape pen or bottle of CBD drops in my rucksack...or indeed an Aspire Nautilus Prime X in my pocket... At home I'll be using various mods topped with the GeekVape Zeus X RTA or the Signature Mods Mono SQ topped with the Augvape BTFC RDA... I'm a former journalist and now a writer and sometimes author... I'm ex Army - adore dogs and never happier than hiking over the hills or with a good book on a beach.


  1. I have scoured the net for information and scientific literature on hnb products, and there is very little out there. What there is, is provided by the manufacturers. I also posted a query on our alliances page, asking for personal opinions from anyone who has tried hnb, or any links to scientific information. One link was for the presentation of data by Dr. Farsalinos on YouTube Rather than repeat myself, i thought id just copy my reply over: Just watched, and just a verbal of what id already read.
    Couple of points:
    Still no full list of what is in the sticks.

    He mentions emissions, then says they dont know what they are. That is what i want to know!!!

    Stated that it needed more frequent use, but had only a short operational time. If the use is equivalent to smoking a cigarette, plus the delay for warm up, with increased frequency needed….i cant see this being a replacement. Vaping is used for short periods as needed. You dont vape like you smoke. Which brings me to the next point.

    Dual use is only a harm reduction tool if quitting occurs. Because vaping is different to smoking, and finding right fit can take a while, dual use shouldnt be negatively portrayed. I cant see that happening with hnb. The delay in activation, for a dual user, means they’ll just light up….then have that as well, when its ready. More additional than replacement.

    The science was a little off. The statement that such and such substance is very hard to quantify because the analysers cant detect it in aerosol, but we know its in trace or low amounts in liquid. Two probs with that….just because it exists in liquid, doesnt mean it exists in aerosol. Since the liquid is heated, chemical changes occur. This can result in formation or degradation of substance into something else. Basic chemistry! The second is….no…you cant quantify something undectable. That is called not detected, or negative. If you cant prove its existence, or to be so low that it isnt detected, it has no valid scientific relevance.

    One more! Comparisons between the three products for certain toxins found in all, is fine. But what about the other 300 or so that arent found in vaping, but are present in ciggies? How many of those are also in hnb, and at what concentrations?

    I cant see these hnb products as harm reduction or quitting aid. Chewing tobacco causes mouth and throat cancers, and orthodontic disease, either directly, or secondary ( poor oral hygiene habits, also smoker etc), so it just isnt burning that makes the product toxic. With the info currently available, i reject hnb products aa harm reductive.

    FYI, I am a medical scientist, who began vaping in 2010. Dual used til accidentally quit in June 2014. I continue to Vape, and have no intentions of either stopping, or trying another product. I admit that I was glad to read the quote by Prof. David Harrison in this article, to me its what isn’t being said data wise that’s the problem! Oh, I’m also an Aussie, so unlike those of you residing in Vape friendly countries, I’m breaking the law by vaping with nic juice. Any tech that is harm reductive should be welcomed……as long as empirical evidence supports it. That isn’t the case with hnb, at present. Until more independent scientific data is available, there can be no valid claim of harm reduction. I support the author of this article entirely.

  2. The Independent Vaping Industry isn’t the Tobacco Industry it’s that simple.

    For those misinformed about NNA, they have championed other alternatives to smoking as well as vaping, like snus since at least 2014, check their blogs.

    Right then.. Possible implications of dedicated vape shops selling tobacco i.e HnB

    1. If we’re to get proper UK regulation for vaping for when we brexit but then vape shops are already selling tobacco products which implicates us as part of the tobacco industry, how does that look to legislators?

    2. It could mean we end up in the same tax bracket as HnB or they get the same exemptions as vaping which gives them more clout and vape shops start struggling to compete, don’t forget they are a massive corporate machine on a mission to survive!

    3. If it turns out that through independent science that there’s severe flaws then how will that effect the UK vaping industry? we’ve already had an uphill battle in encouraging smokers and general public about the misinformation about vaping, all the work by PHE, RCP CRUK all the recent vaping campaigns would have been for nothing and / or set us back years, in the meantime PMI is doing great!!

    4. It’s too early to start stocking a product that is still under the microscope far more than vaping, how does that look to smokers who already have certain views on even trying to switch, they walk into a vape shop and there’s shutter doors with tobacco products behind them, they will wonder why HnB is being treated like cigarettes!

    5. What if there comes a point where a vape shop is slowly stocking more HnB than vaping products because PMI have been let into the vaping industry? my fear is their game is to buy out shops in certain areas of the UK, basically using vaping shops to further themselves.

    6. Overall there’s no need for a dedicated vape shop to be selling tobacco, we’re not the tobacco industry and by selling HnB implicates the independent vaping industry as such.

    7. Do you think PMI will allow Juul or Smok to be sold in their IQOS shops ? remember BT have lost revenue because of vaping, this should ring alarm bells! their goal, mission is a different dynamic to the independent vaping industry,our industry came about through ex-smokers looking to switch away from cigarettes and then grew an industry born out of ex-smokers looking to help others, BT are in the business of keeping people smoking, now looking to survive due to loss of revenue, their goal and dynamics are very different than the vaping industry and if we’re not careful vaping in the UK could be severely effected in the future.

    • Brian, a few points;

      1: Do you mean Tobacco product or tobacco COMPANY product? Be clear.
      2: Under the TPD and TRPR HnB are classified as Novel Tobacco Products, not vaping. No amount of “look” changes that.
      3: The nicotine in vaping comes from Tobacco, with a few rare and expensive exceptions. Therefore a tobacco derivative.

      If you’ve an issue with HnB being at vaping shows, expos etc then that’s a question you need to level at the organisers not stores, vapers or the NNA.

      You’re applying a moral argument to a scientific decision. Stop.

      • 1. Heat Not Burn products are tobacco company owned products, how can that not be clear?

        2. The implications of dedicated vape shops selling tobacco Heat Not Burn products has potential negative consequences for vaping for any new regulations away from Tobacco regulation and taxation if vape shops are then seen to be tobacco industry related, selling tobacco products, this would ultimately have bigger negative consequences for the smoker which is what this is all about after all.

        3. Uses the same nicotine as patches & gum! Doesn’t make neither a tobacco product.

        4. Vape events – I haven’t stated anything about Expos on here but as you brought that up, a vape expo is organised by the vaping industry not the tobacco industry, Heat Not Burn tobacco products are not vaping products and have no place being there, again conflation, muddying the waters.

        Dedicated vape shops selling tobacco products has nothing to do with a scientific decision! It’s based on a stance that is becoming its own problem, the onous is on the tobacco industry and tobacco companies to give smokers the choice to access their products and not to expect a vape shop to sell the competing industries products.

        Do you think IQOS shops will be stocking independent brands of vaping products anytime soon?

        THR doesn’t mean a dedicated vape shop has to sell tobacco products to support that stance, Tobacco companies need more shops, it’s not the vaping industries problem to solve, we are not the tobacco industry.

  3. I do try to keep up-to-date each day with the vaping scene but this has come as a complete surprise. I support the NNA and will continue to do so , some people seem to have forgotten the campaigning and advocacy which has taken place over the last 5 years to get vaping to its present level of acceptance. I refer to some quotes and semi-quotes contained in the comments above –
    “We cannot believe or accept any research by BT”
    “We do not have any evidence that they are safe”
    “No evidence has been produced”
    “They must be regulated”
    “They contain tobacco so must be classed as a tobacco product”
    “The same chemicals as in cigarettes are present so they will cause cancer” (No mention of dosage)
    “They must not be sold in vape shops” (Or Tobacconists ? or Supermarkets ? or Garages ? or Corner Shops ? or anywhere , does not the same argument apply ?)

    What I am seeing here are exactly the same anti-vaping arguments we have fought against for years , how will any harm-reduction device ever become available if all these mendacious attacks are made every time ? The NNA is a dedicated harm-reduction organisation , it should be praised for supporting all kinds of harm-reduction devices which come onto the market. The time to remove such support would be when a product is definitely proved to be unsafe. This support is what we “should” have had for vaping years ago , having learnt such a hard lesson why would we want to repeat the same mistakes over and over ?

  4. Vic (and others),

    It’s a shame we’ve ended up with a “drama”. Personally I hate them. We try to keep, as much as possible, personal opinion out of what we do.

    To my knowledge the NNA has NEVER declared itself to be a “vaping only” advocacy group, despite the majority of the team being vapers themselves. We advocate for any form of tobacco harm reduction. That’s nothing new and I don’t know why you’re trying to paint it to be so.

    Snus & HnB, as far as the science goes, are legit forms of harm reduction. And, shock, not everyone gets on with or likes vaping. Many do but not all, do we deny them?

    What if the product were independently made? Would we be having this discussion? Is who makes it as important as what it can do? I think we can all agree on that one, no?

    “Slaps in the face” to anyone were not intended, despite the recent apparent libelling of a serving NNA trustee. I’d suggest everyone goes and has a cup of tea, calms down and thinks about the others who are still smoking.

    If you’d like a civil chat and drink please come and find me at Expo.


  5. This is utter bs from the NNA. What they have essentially done is call out a youtube reviewer (who happens to be an NNA Associate Member) and accused him of lying and scaremongering. I’m not the least bit surprised he left the NNA.

    As for HnB, I agree that it could be a viable method of giving up smoking and has it’s place in the harm reduction merket. That place is just nowhere near the vape industry.

    I say “could be a viable method” because I just don’t trust the statistics being banded around regarding these products, since the all seem to be in-house studies by Big Tobacco and I just don’t trust anything they say. Remember, this was the same lot that, during the 1950s & 60s, blatantly lied to governments about the health risks from smoking and that “Nicotine is not an addictive substance”.

    • 1 Look up the study by Farsalinos – he is independent, and he confirmed what PMI said about HNB / iQos.
      2 You do realize that the 1950s and 60s are around 60 years in the past?
      3 “Nicotine is not an addictive substance” wasn’t and isn’t a lie.

  6. I’m one of the reviewers that Sarah Jakes was taking a swipe at in her interview. I left the NNA this evening as an associate member. This interview has shown the NNA in a light that a lot of people on Facebook is now questioning, and those same people used to be monthly contributors…they cancelled those contributions tonight.

    Sarah’s interview was not just mentioning the NNA’s position, it was, like Dave Dorns blog post, a full out attack on anyone who doesn’t agree with their current position on HnB being sold in vape shops. My own videos have put the NNA in a neutral stance because before this piece was out that’s exactly what they were…neutral.

    Not once did I attack the NNA, not once did I put the NNA in a bad light, and so far I have donated over 3000 worth of vape gear to the NNA for donations. Then this interview came out. A slap in the face to myself, a slap in the face to MANY supporters of the NNA and a slap in the face to the contributors, donators and monthly subscribers who have supported the NNA due to the same reviewers (that Sarah is now attacking) giving the NNA airtime on their channels.

    The NNA is not advocacy anymore with this interview going out. The NNA is a baseball bat that they are beating people over the head with that does not agree with them, and I hope more, and more people read this article who are monthly contributors to the NNA…because like many others they will stop their monthly donations.

    If the NNA want to set this industry on fire and set it down a path that for the past FOUR YEARS members of the NNA was against (tobacco products being sold in vape shops), then that is their choice, but the people who are keeping the NNA afloat with their donations will vote with their wallet, and the NNA will have people like Sarah Jakes to blame, “advocates” who don’t care and don’t listen to what their own membership is saying.

    • Vic, I’m curious. Can you point to the NNA policy which said it was against HnB products being sold in vape shops? Here are the NNA’s position statements which have not changed for 2 years.

      There is no mention there of where HnB products should be sold because it is no business of the NNA where they are sold. They have never had a policy on selling iQos in vape shops just like they have never had a policy on not selling iQos in vape shops. All the NNA says it that they should be made available. There has been no “180 degree turn”, as you claim, because there was never any policy to begin with.

      So. Please show us where the NNA as an organisation has a “current position on HnB being sold in vape shops”. It is not a concern to the NNA where products are sold, just that they are made available. It is solely up to the discretion of the business owner, which is what this article says, and which has always been the NNA policy.

  7. So, my take on this whole farce is this, HNB has a place, after all it IS harm reduction so should be welcomed. The people behind the Iqos have publicly stated it is 90% safer than smoking without producing any evidence whatsoever. That alone should have the NNA speaking out against them for making such ludicrous claims. HNB has ZERO place in the vaping industry, whether that be in vape shops or online vendors, especially not until they are regulated like us and have had the appropriate testing so we know just what kind of carcinogens potential users shall be inhaling. The NNA are taking a huge risk by backing these products without having the full knowledge and facts to back up HNB claims and i can see vapers turning on the NNA and the people in power there.

    If the likes of Iqos and other HNB products had the relative testing results and all the true facts about their devices, ie let’s say it was 50% less harmful than smoking a cigarette and had the public backing of public health england like vaping does then by all means we could look into them slotting in alongside vaping. Until then the answer has to be NO, and the NNA should be taking that stance as well. I have lost a lot of respect for dave dorn, sarah jakes and their cronies over there after all this, and i fear i won’t be alone in taking that opinion. Backtrack now NNA before you damage your’s and our industries reputation beyond repair!

  8. Fantastic article Neil, thank you for giving us in NNA the opportunity to voice our views on the current lively debate around Heat not Burn.

    I’d like to just point out though that Sarah’s words weren’t that vape shops should openly sell Heat not Burn products – rather that it should be up to the individual business owners to choose to sell them, if they wanted to. Also, Sarah says that some of the arguments currently being put forward are playing into the hands of some elements in tobacco control, rather than into the hands of Big Tobacco, as the introduction states.

  9. Harm reduction should be applauded and welcomed in any form and from any direction by all of us. I do feel quite strongly however that HNB should not be sold in vape shops in store or online. Selling tobacco products alongside vape products can only harm the already mostly misunderstood image of the industry. Regardless of the outcome of Bill 59 there will doubtless be other bills in the future and the TRPR is bound to be reviewed at some time and the grouping together of tobacco and vaping products can only reduce any possibility of getting the regulations relaxed for the vape industry. Whilst I fully expected the NNA to support HNB I am disappointed that they think these products should be sold in vape shops.

  10. Okay, my reply comes as a current long term duel user. Why duel use due to a misdiagnosis when i started vaping two years ago I Started suffering from migraines again. Sometimes 3 to 5 a week. So i was told to stop vaping as it was the only new thing in my life and seen as the “trigger”. This turned out not to be the case but stopping the smokes completely the second time round has proven harder. I am the first to admit my job is high pressure and time constraints all day add to my own anxiety.
    At home I will vape happily all day everyday. But my feelings towards the IQOS is i just dont want to see it in my local vape shop. I go in there to try and find the perfect mix so i can once again be smoke free, not see what has been accepted as essentially a tobacco product. ( no matter how you class it as novelty etc ).
    The advantages of vaping bar the obvious choices we all make in purchasing new hardware / rda’s / rdta’s / drippers and liquid is its cheaper. With the IQOS refills or however you wish to describe the inserts…. beings around the same price as a pack of 20 cigarettes and the IQOS being not cheap itself, i fail to see the financial advantages of using it.
    Then there are the health claims that are well questionable to say the least. When they are proven maybe my stance will soften.
    Finally as we all do in a vape shop, we enjoy having a go on the new, latest and greatest juice that come in on testers…. but as the IQOS stands as a tobacco product you cannot use this indoors such as in a vape shop. As far as i understand the TRPR anyway.
    If my local shop were to stock the IQOS would i still go in??? The chances are no id wish them well but whilst its on the shelf ill spend my hard earn money else where.


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