GFN 2015

GFN

 

Save e-cigs was at the Global Forum on Nicotine, and once again the entire agenda was based around electronic cigarettes and e-liquid.

 

This is the second year the GFN has been held and the second year in the lovely City of Warsaw. This year it attracted more delegates, and dare I say it a few more of the big guns, which reflects the importance that this conference is gaining. Hon Lik the inventor of the modern day e-cig was there – (yes, there was much awe in the room when he spoke!) but also Dr Derek Yach, the man who was responsible for leading the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

 

Having him speak was not only symbolic of where e-cigarettes have come, he was also one of the loudest critics of the attitude that many in Public Health are clinging onto. During his speech  a prominent tobacco control advocate tried to defend a Dr from the BMA that had stated e-cigarettes are worse than tobacco cigarettes, (basically an indefensible statement) he roundly put her in her place!

 

The theme this year was billed as ‘a different kind of endgame’. I think this was a tad optimistic in the light of the global opposition to e-cigarettes, but there was plenty of talk regarding policy, how to engage with policy makers and politicians, plus Simon Thurlow who has been representing Save e-cigs in Wales, gave two presentations and did all of us very proud.

 

The Highlight of the conference was undoubtedly Hon Lik and the humble manner in which he spoke. I think he was overwhelmed by the strength of goodwill towards him.

 

The most exciting part was the impassioned speech by Dr Atilla Danko, but what struck me the most was the way that the scientists are 100% aware of the terrible effect the junk science and the mass media scare tactics are having, and they are just as scathing and seething towards this as we are. They are aware of just how deeply entrenched the tobacco control and Public Health fears are, and that many that are in Public Health are using a business model that is out-dated and was designed back in the 1960’s when the war against big tobacco was well and truly raging. However, we are now 50 years on from that, the world has changed beyond belief, and Public Health and Tobacco Control need to join the digital age with its digital thinking.

 

 

Overall it was a great GFN, wonderful to meet delegates from all over the world – including Australia, New Zealand and China. Once again it is very positive and reassuring experience when you are in a ‘bubble’ like that – listening to like-minded people and refreshing yourself on the latest research.

 

Shame we all had to come down to earth with a bump  due to Mark Drakeford and his ridiculous proposed vaping ban in public spaces in Wales!

 

The presentations from the GFN .

 

 

 

 

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The Global Forum on Nicotine… was it worth it?

Global Forum on Nicotine

 

This was my first e cigarette ‘event’ so I had no pre-conceived ideas as to how it would go, who would be there and what the outcome would be. The line up looked interesting and the programme pretty compelling and I was delighted to be there.

It turned out to be two days packed to the rafters with talks and discussions, many conversations were held during the breaks, (where we had fabulous snacks and food, thank you Marriot Hotel) and much was learnt. There wasn’t an awful lot about nicotine if I am honest, but then this was always going to be about e cigarettes; where we are globally, and where we hope to go.

Deborah Arnott from ASH attended, she was on a fact-finding mission for the FCT. She gave a presentation at the end of the conference.  Sadly she still supports med regs, yet accepts the twin track approach agreed by the TPD, but then that presentation was made before she attended. I guess we can cling to a vain hope that she may still change her mind and have a road to Damascus conversion, and realise that e cigs should be pretty much left alone to innovate and get folks away from the dreaded weed.

All the eminent scientists were there, and it was lovely to finally meet them, see them in person and hear what they had to say without reading long and rather dull scientific papers. Prof Hajek is just lovely!

The well- know vapers were there in force, Dave Dorn, Lorien Jollye, Sarah Jakes, Dick Puddlecoat and more, with plenty of wine and beer flowing in the evenings amongst clouds of vapour. (Did anyone know that DD is a trained Opera singer?)

 

But what did Save e-cigs come away with from the Forum?

That Public Health can absolutely see the benefits of e cigs, but can they ethically allow the prescription of them on the NHS, if the Tobacco Industry makes them?

That Vapers, without a shadow of a doubt made the difference at the TPD. Rebecca Taylor MEP made this abundantly clear. Because of vapers getting involved and telling their story, MEPs had to respond. And somehow we need to keep this involvement up.

The reason why snus is still banned? They didn’t lobby, and they didn’t/don’t have the people power behind them. The travesty that is the snus ban was continually referred to, and it is incredulous that it is still banned. It makes absolutely no logical sense.

Working together. This was the common theme and common thread, and was heartening to hear. We all have to put egos’, differences etc. behind us. The TPD could have been better if we had been united. A divided house falls, and we need to ensure that that doesn’t happen again.

 

So what’s next for e cigs? In the words of the world famous fish Dory – we have to ‘just keep swimming’, there’s nothing else for it – keep writing, keep campaigning, and keep on keeping on!

Just keep swimming

Just keep swimming

There are moves afoot for there to be a Global Forum on Nicotine the same time, same venue next year. Let’s hope that the e cigarette industry and community will be able to come together again then, but this time with plenty of progress to report in the regulatory area. Good progress too, in our favour.

So was the GFN worth it? absolutely.

But one final note: Warsaw is lovely, very cheap, but quality cheap, full of culture and if you ever get the chance – go!