Many people are working behind the scenes to promote e-cigarette use as a harm reduction tool from politicians to the media but who are they? We look at the charities, consumer groups and trade bodies that are busy fighting vaping’s corner.
As vaping grew around the world so too did the number of organisations set up to promote the evidence to politicians and benefits to smokers. Now there are over 50 but more countries than not don’t have any representation. Fortunately, we are well served in the United Kingdom.
What is the point of a consumer organisation?
Electronic cigarettes managed to disrupt more than just the tobacco market. As more smokers used vaping to switch away from smoking, tobacco controllers and public health officials suddenly found themselves being cut out of the quitting process. Some made an effort to learn about the new technology and became advocates for vaping themselves, but a number refused to accept the new reality.
Partnering with a billionaire funder, opportunistic politicians and promoting poor-quality research, negative stories have been fed to the media. Newspapers were still coming to terms with online competition and very willing to publish anything that would increase footfall to their webpages and social media accounts – and negative news is the best for this.
What do consumer groups do?
The activities can be summed up by “engage and educate”. Consumer groups appear before parliamentary committees, submit papers to government fact-finding exercises, are interviewed on television and make presentations at conferences. Also, the groups share facts and provide guidance to consumers as well as coordinating consumer responses to matters of importance.
What is the U.K. consumer group?
The New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) is a registered charity that is independent of the tobacco, vape, and pharmaceutical industry – it only accepts donations from nicotine consumers. The NNA has campaigned on the issue of legalising snus, fought against the Tobacco Products Directive’s harsher extremes, and fought to keep vaping products taxed differently to tobacco products.
Who works for the NNA?
Everybody who works for the NNA is a volunteer, giving their time freely, except for a single admin officer who receives a stipend for their part-time efforts. All the funds are directed to hosting online Zoom educational events, promotion/education materials, and the costs incurred in the volunteers attending events.
You can sign up to support the NNA’s work for free.
What other groups are there?
ETHRA: The NNA is a member of the European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates, an umbrella organisation that coordinates the responses of consumer groups across the European continent.
UKVIA: The UK Vaping Industry Association campaigns on behalf of its membership. Some of its members a part of the tobacco industry. It believes in the relaxation of current legislation which will benefit consumers.
IBVTA: The Independent Vape Trade Association represents its membership – all of which are independent companies not linked to the tobacco industry. It is also fighting for legislation to be evidence-based and relaxed.