Politics & Campaigns

NNA Offers Levelling Up Advice

The New Nicotine Alliance offers up recommendations for new government policy announcements to help it achieve its levelling up ambitions

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The New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) offers up recommendations for new government policy announcements to help it achieve its levelling up ambitions. This comes as the cabinet attempts to refocus on policy areas that have been side-lined due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its recent slew of setbacks.

The government previously published a report on how the country could take advantage of leaving the European Union. In the document, the government said: “The UK is already recognised as a world leader in tobacco control and has made good progress reducing smoking rates. However, with around six million smokers in England and stark health disparities associated with smoking, more still needs to be done to help people to quit smoking. We have now launched a rapid independent review to identify which policies and regulatory reforms will be most impactful in supporting our 2030 Smokefree ambition, including where it may be beneficial to go further than the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive allowed us to. We will set out proposals for our regulatory reforms in a new Tobacco Control Plan due to be published later this year.”

The NNA says: “Furthermore, just a couple of days later a new long-awaited levelling-up white paper was launched which includes a series of medium-term ‘missions’, or targets. Amongst them is a goal of reducing the gap in healthy life expectancy between the richest and poorest areas and improving wellbeing in every area of the country.”

The consumer charity says that a harm reduction approach “can play a significant role” to achieving both Smokefree 2030 and the levelling up agenda. The NNA has prepared a set of proposals for tobacco harm reduction which would support these aims.

We wrote to the Department of Health and Social Care and the Number 10 Policy Unit to suggest post-Brexit tobacco and nicotine policy reforms in October 2020 and followed up with another letter in May 2021 with proposals set out a wider policy agenda along the same lines,” the NNA explains.

Our recommendations are just as relevant now – in fact more so considering the announcements this week – as they were then and fit both post-Brexit reform and the levelling-up initiative well. Based on driving behaviour change through consent and consumer choice rather than what some members of the public see as coercion, the proposals are simple, involve minimal cost to the taxpayer and we believe they would be effective in aiding the government’s Smokefree 2030 aspiration.”

The NNA’s proposals:

  1. Lift the ban on oral tobacco (snus) and properly regulate all smokeless tobacco
  2. Raise the limit on nicotine concentration in vaping liquids to allow vaping products to compete more effectively with cigarettes
  3. Replace bans on advertising of vaping products on TV, radio, internet and in publications with controls on themes and placement
  4. Replace blanket bans on advertising of low-risk tobacco products with controls on themes and placement
  5. Replace excessive and inappropriate warnings on vaping products with risk communications that encourage smokers to try switching
  6. Replace excessive and inappropriate warnings on non-combustible tobacco products
  7. Allow and enable candid communication of relative risk to consumers
  8. Adopt a fresh approach to pack inserts for both vaping products and cigarettes to encourage switching to lower risk products
  9. Remove wasteful restrictions on vaping product tank and e-liquid container size that have no discernible purpose
  10. Recognise and regulate novel oral nicotine products

The NNA concludes: “We intend to write again to the government soon to re-emphasise the value in our proposals and how they dovetail with this week’s policy announcements. We invite NNA supporters to do the same by contacting their MP and directing them to our sensible proposals.” (here and here)


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Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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