There’s many reasons we at Vapemate are supportive of the new award-winning documentary about vaping, A Billion Lives - to the point where we are sponsoring its London premiere on December 6th, 2016. It showcases Britain as a thought leader in the regulation and sale of eliquids and vaping devices in contrast to the backwards bans and regulations in many other countries in the world, including the United States. It promotes the idea of tobacco harm reduction as a key public health goal, and it does it all through interviews with experts on tobacco harm reduction and the ecigarette industry around the world.
Q: How did you land on the subject of vaping & tobacco harm reduction as the subject for your first feature film?
A: The film’s director, Aaron Biebert, is both a non-smoker and a non-vaper. But he started to learn more about addiction to tobacco, how difficult it was to quit, and what therapies work after a colleague of his died from lung cancer. His first thought about vaping was that it looked like a hipster way to smoke indoors, but friends of his educated him about it with language that sounded to him like that of a conspiracy theorist’s - how big business and government interfered with a cheap alternative that helps people quit smoking. After more investigation, he found out that a billion people are projected to die from smoking in this century, and if his pro-vaping friends were right, it could be the story of a lifetime - and that story is what is told in A Billion Lives.
A: Here is a list of them:
Best International Documentary, Jozi Film Festival, 2016
Best Director, Melbourne Documentary Film Festival 2016
Supreme Jury Prize, Melbourne Documentary Film Festival 2016
Silver REMI at WorldFest Houston International Film Festival 2016
Nominee for "Best International Feature" - Finalist, DocEdge filmfestival 2016
Dorn Award - GFN16 in Warsaw, Poland
Official Selection - POFF Black Knights Film Festival
Official Selection - National Harm Reduction Fim Festival
Q: What are some issues you have faced with the film?
A: The premiere of A Billion Lives in India was held during the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which was happening just down the street from where the film was being screened. The filmmakers were denied requests for interviews, and the press was barred from the conference. The outcome from the conference was a continuation of WHO’s very negative outlook on electronic cigarettes by WHO, which has been rebutted in painstaking detail in advance of the conference by the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies in this document.
In addition, one of the stars of A Billion Lives was barred from even entering India for the premiere. David Goerlitz, more commonly known as “The Winston Man”, is an outspoken opponent of the tobacco industry. You can read more about it in the Facebook post about it, below.
Q: The Royal College of Physicians and Public Health England have supported vaping, while other governments and organisations outside of the UK actively oppose it. Why do you think this is?
A: Because of the money. A Billion Lives explains how Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, anti-smoking organisations, and governments have various revenue streams that bring in billions of dollars. If smoking ceased to exist, there would be a trillion dollars of lost revenue for these various organisations. The science is clear, and organisations which base policy on science - not - money - recognise that vaping is the future of tobacco harm reduction.
Clive Bates, a vocal British proponent of vaping and tobacco harm reduction, is featured in A Billion Lives.
Q: Why should people see A Billion Lives?
There is too much misinformation about vaping being spread in the media, and most of these efforts are being undertaken by groups with a monetary interest in the status quo. A Billion Lives aims to counter that misinformation with science-based arguments from leading experts around the world.
Vapemate is sponsoring the London premiere of A Billion Lives on December 6th, 2016. You can purchase tickets here - make sure to get them now, they may only be purchased in advance.