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« Director of A Billion Lives replies | Main | Transparency, transparency, transparency »

Billion Lives team "very proud" to be part of the "anti-smoking movement"

Still on vaping, Twitter threw me another bone this week:

You may remember A Billion Lives. It was a worthy but rather dull pro-vaping documentary that was shown in a handful of cinemas at the back end of 2016.

I wrote about it several times and reviewed it here. Dr Attila Danko (see previous post) was one of many vaping advocates featured in the film.

At the time director Aaron Biebert insisted his film was principally about corruption. Commenting on this blog in response to my review, he wrote:

The movie was created for future generations to tell the story of how millions (or even a billion given enough time) people will die early from smoking and how corruption in our government and NGOs helped enable that death.

Even though I agree 100% that smokers should have the right to smoke (and not be harassed), the movie was not about the right to smoke. With some estimating that there are now 1.4 billion smokers, that right is alive and well. It was about the right to quit.

If I interpreted that correctly, A Billion Lives wasn't an anti-smoking film. It was anti-corruption and pro the 'right to quit' (a strange concept I shall return to in another post).

Fast forward 18 months and the Billion Lives' team is not only working for Derek Yach's Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (funded by PMI), it's "very proud" to be part of the "anti-smoking movement", a racket that is driven by many of the NGOs and governments A Billion Lives was supposed to expose.

As for "the right to smoke (and not be harassed)", I don't remember seeing that in any tobacco control manifesto.

Harassment of smokers – whether through bans, taxation or 'denormalisation' – is central to the anti-smoking crusade.

When you become a "very proud" member of that movement you signal your support for policies that are designed specifically to coerce smokers to quit.

Forest, on the other hand, is proud to belong to the pro-choice movement. If adults choose to smoke, or vape, or smoke and vape, or quit, or never smoke, good luck to them. It's their choice and whatever they choose they have our support.

As it happens I was invited to talk about about vaping on BBC Radio Essex on Wednesday.

They were running a story about a woman whose e-cigarette battery exploded in her car, burning her hair and scalp, but they wanted a broader discussion about vaping and were interested to hear what Forest's position was.

I defended vaping in pubs and other public places including hospital grounds.

I said e-cigarettes are popular (with some smokers) because they offer a pleasurable alternative to smoking.

I refuted the suggestion that e-cigarettes might be a gateway to smoking, pointing out there was no evidence for this.

I also stressed that tobacco is a legal product and Forest will continue to support adults who choose to smoke.

Would vaping advocates stand up for smokers in the same way? Some would but not many.

As for the team behind the pro-vaping documentary A Billion Lives, they make no attempt to disguise their allegiance. In their own words, they're "very proud" to be part of the "anti-smoking movement".

Who could have predicted that?

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Reader Comments (8)

It should have been titled A Billion Lies because that is what this self interest project is supporting and promoting with a view to forcing smokers to switch and win favour where the money is - with the antismoker industry.

Shame on them.

Speak up vapng? There was a time when I would but never again.

Friday, May 11, 2018 at 18:03 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

##Fast forward 18 months and the Billion Lives' team is not only working for Derek Yach's Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (funded by PMI), it's "very proud" to be part of the "anti-smoking movement", a racket that is driven by many of the NGOs and governments A Billion Lives was supposed to expose.##

Any smokers reading this...stop buying PMI products and help reduce the money anti-smoking mob have to harass you and make your life more miserable.

Friday, May 11, 2018 at 20:46 | Unregistered CommenterVlad

Simon, I continue to be grateful for all the attention you show us. It is humbling.

The movement to help people who want to quit smoking switch to something safer is called the Anti-Smoking movement. I would push for a better name, but the Pro-Choice movement was taken...

We are proud to help people who want to quit smoking get correct information. I'm sure you'd agree that there are many.

You may also notice that much of the work I've done with Derek and FSFW revolves around choice, information, and respect for smokers. I respect smokers and their choice.

You'll never see anything else come out of my mouth. If anything, I've only moved more towards your position of over the past couple years.

Thanks for the attention (even though it leans a bit to the sensational/emotional/negative/unfair side) for that article urging people to use their brain to allow choice and information to enter the equation, and please consider being a bit more gracious with your coverage.

Friday, May 11, 2018 at 20:54 | Unregistered CommenterAaron Biebert

Simon you are correct to admonish anyone who adopts Tobacco Control tactics and language. I would, however, like to point out that the anti-smoking element among vapers is mainly concentrated among new vapers - at least I hope this is the case.

I would also like to thank you for the support you have given to vaping.

I too have argued that the guiding principle in the debate is that of choice.

The following is the opening words of an article I wrote on the topic...

Vaping is a broad church with advocates holding very different views. From my own perspective, I was so enthralled by my release from cigarette smoking that I wanted others to enjoy that same condition. However, I failed, at least initially, to recognise, rather, to recognise fully, that there are many smokers who would not share the idea that everyone wants to quit smoking: That many smokers enjoy the habit and engage in it having decided for themselves that this is what they want to do.
How dare I look critically at others for having decided on a lifestyle choice simply because it was not my choice: How on earth is that any of my business?
The first thing I do is remind myself as to where I came from – I was a life-time smoker.
On the other hand, there are many smokers who do wish to avoid what they see as danger from smoking. They have a right to consider the issues, to know there are options, and I, as a vaping advocate [at least of a kind] have a duty to ensure that my perspective on the topic is ‘out there.’ So, what do I do?

The rest of the article may be found here

Friday, May 11, 2018 at 22:21 | Unregistered Commenterrobert innes

Smokers should ignore these antismoking bullies. The antismoking movement is in all actuality an antismoker movement that gains its power through the active persecution of smokers.

The vaping activist that actively embrace antismoking use the same lies, manipulated data, and exaggerations of health effects to further their cause and gain power. Smokers should expose their lies and ignore them.

Vaping should be a choice not imposed by grifters and misguided 'healthist' activists.

Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 0:39 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

"The movement to help people who want to quit smoking switch to something safer is called the Anti-Smoking movement."

No it is not Aaron, it is called Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR). I have never in my life associated any anti-smoking movement that was anything other than hostile to smokers.

"I respect smokers and their choice."

Then please respect the feelings of smokers when they tell you that anti-smoking is not an appropriate name.

Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 0:56 | Unregistered CommenterPaul McNamara

Aaron, ever heard of cognitive dissonance?

How about, "him speak with forked tongue"?

Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 10:26 | Unregistered CommenterHowsey

As a vaper, and former vape shop owner who's shop was wiped out by a tax pushed by tobacco control, I'm very confused by your piece. I'm a huge fan of Aaron and the Attention Era team. I'm also a huge fan of the Smoke Free World Foundation. On one hand you seem to be conflating the foundation with traditional tobacco control, and on the other hand you appear to be throwing shade their way because a significant amount of their funding comes from PMI. I'm not affiliated with the SFWF in any way, and I see their goal as ensuring consumer access to tobacco harm reduction products like vaping and snus through getting the word out on honest "tobacco" research, and conducting new research that will be released regardless of the research outcomes, not concealed from the public if the outcome doesn't fit an agenda like so much "tobacco control" driven research. Also I presume they will work to provide honest info about nicotine to consumers, something that is desperately needed. This is the actual reason that tobacco control despisrs and continuously slanders the foundation.

As someone that vapes, smokes, and also uses nicotine pouches (and occasionally Swedish snus), I'm one of those vapers that defends smokers' right to smoke (or vape, use HNB products, or snus). I count myself as fortunate to have spent time with Aaron Beibert both in person and online, and feel comfortable saying the same about him. As such, I still don't understand what your issue is?

Sunday, May 13, 2018 at 11:29 | Unregistered CommenterChris

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