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The NNA developed from a group of individuals who - by themselves and through their links with leading smoking and tobacco researchers and policy analysts – have contributed in the last two years to improving individual, organisational and public understanding of what is known as ‘tobacco harm reduction’ - a term used by the Department of Health, Public Health England and the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence amongst others to describe ways of reducing harm from cigarette smoking without necessarily giving up the use of nicotine. The Board of NNA, and our Associates include ex-smokers, most of whom have succeeded in giving up smoking through the use of other nicotine delivery systems, public health analysts and scientists.
We wish to see a mature public and organisational understanding of the potential of safer nicotine products for reducing cigarette smoking, including their safety and efficacy, and hence contribute to the reduction in cigarette smoking. This requires engaging with and informing a wide range of individuals and audiences – from health through to regulatory bodies.
The activities of the Board and Associates to date include:
- speaking at national and international smoking cessation and public health conferences,
- briefing media on new nicotine products on a reactive and proactive basis,
- briefing national and European parliamentarians,
- briefing members of national and international tobacco control organisations,
- publishing commentaries in the mass media and in professional and scientific journals,
- making submissions in response to public consultations (eg to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and the Committee of Advertising Practice),
- supporting the establishment of practical and sensible product standards,
- engaging with members of Royal Colleges of medicine,
- advising local NHS public health bodies, NHS services and third sector health organisations,
- advising travel and transport operators and managers and owners of public venues about the use of electronic cigarettes in public places, and
- using social media (mainly twitter, Facebook and blogs) to enhance public understanding.
Part of the work of the NNA is to seek an effective regulatory environment for nicotine delivery devices which protects the public (ie safety) but also ensures availability of effective devices – hence this means that from time to time we engage with policy-makers and regulatory bodies, and comment on legislative and policy issues. This is not the sole activity of NNA and is only done in the context of support for our main purposes. The NNA is non-political and no activities are to the benefit of or in support to any political party.
The NNA is completely independent of commercial interests in relevant industries (ecigarettes, tobacco, pharmaceutical companies, etc). It operates on a not-for-profit basis and is free from commercial bias. Our policies and public statements are evidence-based, with a clear focus on the health of consumers and the wider public.