Hot on the heels of a successful red carpet event in the Hollywood Hills, the documentary that shines an unwelcome spotlight on the corruption and ignorance that threatens to crush the vaping industry is finally heading to movie theaters across the United States. As their cinematic masterpiece makes its way to over 200 screens across the nation however, rather than resting on their laurels, Aaron Biebert and his team are preparing for what could be their hardest battle yet. As we, the people, get to sit down and watch A Billion Lives for the first time they are heading into the belly of the beast in Delhi, India as the World Health Organisation sits down for its 7th Conference of the Parties to WHO’s tobacco control treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC COP-7).
Let’s Talk A Billion Lives
According to the World Health Organisation, 1 Billion people are projected to die this century from Tobacco related illnesses. These words are burned into the minds of millions, and those are just the people who have seen the trailer for a movie deemed by Facebook to be itself, a Tobacco product.
The movie outlines the disconnect between what should be happening with vapor technology, devices that have been deemed 95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes by the Royal College of Physicians, and the reality of what Public Health organisations, like the CDC, FDA and WHO are actually doing to destroy this industry before it gets off the ground. It shows how science is taking a back seat to fear mongering and more importantly that people are getting paid to make it happen. It shows that there’s no room in Tobacco control for harm reduction, unless you happen to be from a company who has medical licenses or a Senator or 6 in your back pocket.
The fact that millions of people are now considered ex-smokers due to these devices and this technology scares these people so much that, rather than admit the truth, they deemed them as tobacco products to level the playing field once more.
The World Health Organisation
Even with the evidence mounting against their beliefs, the World Health Organisation refuses to acknowledge that E.N.D.S (electronic nicotine delivery systems, their term for vapor technology) are an opportunity to reduce harm and improve public health, instead laying out the case that they believe it is a threat. While cool heads are able to tick the boxes that show this technology has more potential than all other previous “smoking cessation products” WHO are doubling down, as shown in this paper drawn up for the conference —http://www.who.int/fctc/cop/cop7/FCTC_COP_7_11_EN.pdf
The UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS) has produced a stinging rebuttal before the conference has begun, stating that the paper is based on unsound principles and scientific studies that have been debunked more times than Adam Savage wore a bad costume on Myth Busters. Clive Bates broke it down in much simpler terms than I could ever hope to and I advise you to read his piece on the WHO’s house of cards.
Dropping A Billion Bodies On Their Doorstep
Short of actually having a billion corpses present at the conference, it is possible that having a documentary that points out the error of their thinking may have a serious impact on the future. A Billion Lives has already been instrumental in changing policy in several places around the world and with each new showing it is opening up the eyes of more people, especially those who are in a place to make positive changes for public health.
Although he would be the last to admit it, Aaron is doing more for Public Health than the majority of politicians put in office to protect the people — if anyone was to make a statue he would be on horseback in armor aiming a lance at a dragon’s heart.