Chapters:0:00 - Intro with Joanna Junak 1:02 - Doctor John Oyston tells us why he thinks Canadian smokers need a medically licensed vaping product. 10:50 - Will Godrey of Filter is with us to discuss an innovative UK program for pregnant smokers. 14:07 - We will bring you the next part of our new series, GFN Voices. 16:42 - Brent Stafford of Regwatch interviews Federico Fernandez. 38:34 - Closing remarks
Hello and welcome, my name is Joanna Junak and this is GFN News on GFN.TV. In today’s programme:
Doctor John Oyston tells us why he thinks Canadian smokers need a medically licensed vaping product.
Will Godrey of Filter is with us to discuss an innovative UK program for pregnant smokers
We will bring you the next part of our new series, GFN Voices
And after the news, Brent Stafford of RegWatch interviews Federico Fernández, Executive Director at Somos Innovación and CEO at We Are Innovation.
E-cigarettes with or without nicotine have been legal in Canada since 2018. Studies show that many smokers are using e-cigarettes as a way to stop smoking. Joining us today is Doctor John Oyston, Canadian anaesthesiologist. We asked John a few questions. Thank you, John, for joining us. Can you tell us what the situation is with vaping in Canada at the moment?
John: Okay, thank you for the question. Unfortunately, it's a very sad situation because a lot of things are up in limbo at the moment. So in May 2018, Canada had a good start tobacco and Vaping products act that made nicotine vaping legal. It set some sensible restrictions in terms of age limits and stuff like that. And it seemed that South Canada understood that vaping was perhaps a risk to teenagers, but it was also a potential way to get people off cigarette smoking. So that all started fairly well. But one of the early problem was they had a gag law. They said that people who ran rape shops and sell vape aren't allowed to make health claims about vaping. And they were going to get around that by setting up an agreed series of statements that people were allowed to make. But those have never materialized. So at the moment, if you run a vape shop, you're not allowed to say that vaping is safer than cigarette smoking. You're not allowed to say that vaping is a safe alternative to smoking or way to quit smoking. And then what happened is with the legalization, companies like Jewel came in and they advertised a lot, and teens took it up as a recreational thing and that created a lot of alarm and everybody wanted to save the children and all that stuff, which is understandable, but in that the whole idea that vaping was also a way to stop smoking seems to have disappeared. So the whole emphasis of health Canada now is on preventing teen vaping. And what they're doing is a whole lot of things that make vaping unattractive, both to teenagers, but also to adult smokers. So they've already set up a nicotine limit of 20 milligrams, which is the same as the EU, but it's relatively low and it used to be 60. And for a smoker who is a heavy smoker, they really need that extra amount of nicotine for vaping to work for them. Then they were going to work on flavour bans. They felt the flavours were a real reason why kids like vaping, and they didn't seem to realize that flavoured vape actually helps adult cigarette smokers get off cigarette smoking. And they proceeded a certain stage on that legislation, but they were making some fairly ridiculous mistakes, and they seem to have abandoned that at the federal level. Although two provinces, nova scotia and new Brunswick, now have a flavour ban, and what they're working on now is extra taxation. They're working on a taxation for vape that will be above and beyond other consumer products. So it's really sad because vaping, to work as a way to quit smoking, it has to be affordable, it has to be effective, and it has to be enjoyable. And health Canada is attacking all three of them with taxes to make it unaffordable, with flavour bands to make it not enjoyable, and nicotine limits to make it less effective. So the tobacco and vaping products is up for review at the moment. But in the documents that they were losing about it, they really only care about the parts of the tobacco and vaping products aimed at preventing youth vaping, and they don't seem concerned at all about the aspect of adult smokers.
Joanna: On your blog you mentioned that smokers need a medically-licensed vape as an aid to smoking cessation. Can you tell us why regulation of these products is so important for Canadian vapers.
John: Certainly. And I think it's not only important for Canadian vapours, but for vapours around the world. So, first of all, I've got no problem with the consumer model for vaping. I think it's perfectly reasonable that people who want to use nicotine should be able to buy nicotine in downtown or in the mall, online, in whatever form they like, whether that's cigarettes, whether it's as vape, whether it's all products. But at the moment, as I said, the vape shops aren't able to say that vaping is a way to quit smoking or that it's a safe alternative to smoking. If there was a medically licensed vape that was actually authorized for use as a smoking cessation aid, then that would change the rules. It would allow vape shops to say, okay, this is a brand that is approved by Health Canada. We can tell you that this is a smoking cessation aid, so it would help them. Also, while I think the majority of people that are looking at vaping as a way to quit smoking don't want to go a medical model, they don't feel that they're sick. They want us to go to a store downtown and buy an alternative product, cigarettes. There are some people who would prefer a medical model. They would be more comfortable buying from a physician or a pharmacy than they would be buying from a high street store. They may be advised to quit smoking by a doctor or healthcare worker, and so they want to stick within a medical model. But at the moment, if you go to a physician, a nurse, a hospital, a stop smoking clinic in Canada. They will not recommend vaping to you because it's not been authorized, it's not been licensed. And the amount of ignorance amongst Canadian healthcare workers about vaping is appalling. So health Canada did an official survey. 39% of family doctors in Canada think that nicotine vaping is as bad as smoking. 77% of healthcare practitioners don't think that switching from smoking to vaping counts as quitting smoking, and only 6% of them would recommend vaping as a way to quit smoking. So that needs to change, because we have the evidence that vaping is a safe and effective way to put cigarette smoking, and physicians should be incorporating that into their practice, because at the moment, there isn't a medically licensed product. There isn't something that can be prescribed, there isn't something that can be sold in pharmacies, there isn't something that can be covered by provincial or private health insurance plans. It's very difficult to get physicians to recommend vaping as a way to quit smoking. And I think if there was at least one medical licensed product, it would do several things. It would bring it into the physician area of expertise. It would be amongst the things that physicians would be comfortable prescribing, it would make it covered by insurance plans, it would make it sold to pharmacies, which at the moment don't want to sell vaping products because they consider themselves tobacco products. And the other thing is, it will be important for research. It's very difficult at the moment in Canada to do research on vaping because you have to get ethical approval. And to get ethical approval for someone to inhale chemicals from something that's made in China and soft downtown in a regular store, that's difficult. Whereas if there was a medically approved fake, it would be much easier to get ethical approval and to do research.
Joanna: If the government introduced licensed vaping products and gave people reliable information, do you think this would encourage more smokers to switch?
John: Yeah, I sincerely hope so. At the moment, cigarette smoking in Canada is declining very slowly, and it's declining mostly because cigarette smokers are dying, which is a very sad way for that to happen. But Canada actually has a plan that we're supposed to have a smoking rate of 5% by 2035. And although we have that as a goal, we don't actually have a mechanism to achieve it. And so I think something needs to change so that we can actually get more people to quit smoking. And at the moment, neither the consumer part of vaping or the medical part of vaping is actually working well in Canada. And this could all be changed by a change in regulations. And part of the change in regulations would be to have a vape that was approved and medically licensed.
Joanna: And what about misinformation around the health impacts of vaping. Do you see it in Canada?
John: Yes, absolutely, and to a tremendous extent. But the mainstream media in Canada, by which I mean the CBC, the broadcast television, and the global mail, which is our sort of establishment newspaper, are both very much against vaping and their reporting. And vaping is always about youth. It's about kids who are smoking and vaping and maybe going from vaping to cigarette smoking. They never cover the idea that there are elderly people who are switching from smoking to vaping. They never talk about vaping as a way to save lives. They never talk about vaping as a way to help people. And I can kind of understand that in a way, because they've had all this. It's much easier to whip up hysteria about something that's harming kids than it is about something that's benefiting adults. And unfortunately, the medical organizations have gone along with this. And so it's like physicians for a smoke free Canada are very much against vaping. And so the information that's coming to physicians from their professional societies is that vaping is a risk, and it's not something they should be encouraged. So somehow we have to do an enormous amount of work to encourage physicians to take a second look at vaping, to realize that cigarette smoking is the real thing, that's killing people. Health Canada, for example, says that nobody has died from vaping in Canada, and I don't think physicians realize that. I think they see American horror stories about things like the valley, which had nothing to do with legal vaping, and that's what they see, and that's what they think of when they talk about vaping.
Joanna: Thank you John. Now let’s turn to Will Godfrey to find out about a new program launching in England to reduce smoking during pregnancy.
Will: Hi, Joanna. Yes, the program caught our eye at filter, partly because it's an example of contingency management, an evidence based intervention that gives participants payments or rewards as an incentive to quit or reduce their drug use. The model is better known, including in the United States, for its use around banned drugs such as methamphetamine. So it's notable to see it transferred to smoking, and specifically here to smoking during pregnancy, which, as we know, is linked to various harms to parent and child.
Joanna: Where is the program happening and what exactly will it do?
Will: It's being launched as a pilot this autumn by east Cheshire council in Northwest England. It'll pay vouchers worth up to £400 to participants who stop smoking during their pregnancy, up to 300 people, depending on how fast funds stretch. As we know, UK smoking rates have been declining amid a fairly pro vaping landscape, but there are severe disparities by income demographics and region. East Cheshire has a higher than average smoking rate, and about 10% of pregnant residents there continue to smoke. The program will also offer incentives worth up to £200 to other members of participants, households who quit.
Joanna: If participants switch from smoking to vaping, will they still be rewarded?
Will: Yes, they will, as Dr. Matt Yyra, director of public health at Chechirese Council, confirmed to filters a reporter on this story. Kiran Sidhu that's an important factor, and it's an improvement on contingency management programs that reward only abstinence.
Joanna: Have there been any criticisms of this plan?
Will: Yes, several. The cost is one element. Around £116,000 will be set aside to fund it. However, Dr Tyra estimated that the resulting healthcare savings could reach 450,000. Other objections raised by council members included resentment that people would be paid to stop doing something that they do voluntarily, although people who study social determinants of health would dispute that framing and concerns over people dishonestly seeking. The rewards will be addressed, Dr Tyra said, by carbon monoxide testing to determine people's smoking status. There are ethical questions, too, about contingency management itself and its application here to a predominantly disadvantaged pregnant population. Dr Marylou Ganyon, a researcher who has studied this area, flagged detentions around targeting people who, quote, are not in a position to decline a financial incentive because of their socioeconomic situation. On the other hand, a representative of the New York based organization National Advocates for Pregnant Women, which has documented the harms of punitive drug policies, told Kieran that our organization would certainly support any policy that seeks to incentivize health care through awards and encouragement. It'll be fascinating to learn the results of this pilot once it's been conducted.
Joanna: Thank you Will. In the last episode we introduced the first part of our new series, GFN Voices, capturing the views and opinions of people who attended the Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw this June. Let’s hear from more GFN voices today.
Brent: In many places all around the world Canada, the US. Especially Canada. That's where I'm from. I mean, there's a lot of people who accept harm reduction when it comes to drugs, right? Whether they're in Health Canada or in their local public health units or whatever. But then when it comes to tobacco home reduction, they're adamantly opposed to it.
Natalia: Well, the thing is, this is the first time today I've heard about the situation that tobacco arm reduction is not accepted even by people who work in drug harm reduction. So to me, this was new information. To be honest, I don't really understand why, because to me it makes no sense. And having a lot of people around me who have been smokers but had to quit for whatever reason, and a few years ago, no one knew about vaping or snooze is the first time I hear about this today and how it helped in Sweden. So I think this information has to be out there and just put it as available as possible on the market, as you would say, and just see if it works, because you have to talk about the policy advisers and opinion makers and the people who make the difference for the legislation.
Brent: Let me see if I can get a comment from you about Health Canada because the reputation that Canada has had for many decades actually on the forefront of harm, may not harm reduction, but certainly getting people to quit smoking. Yes, they've taken a real drastic turn, have they not, when it comes to vehicle?
Gerry: Well, this is the bizarre. It's not only in Canada, but it's elsewhere. Support for certain kinds of harm reduction, long battles, but drugs harm reduction, well accepted vaping. You make moves in the right direction and then you bring in regulations and you start to ban aspect of it, which you end up with a regulated market, but a regulated market which actually makes unavailable certain desirable products, flavours and so on, which is so central to this.
Joanna: And now, we go over to Brent Stafford and his guest, Federico Fernández, Executive Director at Somos Innovación and CEO at We Are Innovation. In today’s interview Federico talks tobacco harm reduction in Latin America and argues for innovation over prohibition. Over to you, Brent.
BRENT: Hi, everybody. I'm Brent Stafford and welcome to another edition of RegWatch on TV. We're, of course, here in Warsaw, Poland, for the Global Forum on Nicotine FM 22. And I'm here with Federico Fernandez, who is the executive director of the Latin American Network. Somos Innovación Perfect. Wow, that's great. So for our viewers, tell us about yourself in the organization.
FEDERICO: Yeah, happily. Brent Well, firstly, thank you. I'm very happy to be talking with you and you know, with you, with your audience. And so much innovation is it's a network of more than 30 think tanks originally born in in Latin America. Now, also, we're trying to spread to Europe for different reasons, particularly, of course, the historical reasons, our historical relationship between Spain, Portugal and Latin America, but also because there are we believe there are topics that coincide. There are mutual influence that could be used for good. So we're trying to expand to Europe as well. But originally we are from Latin America. Most of the NGOs, foundations, think tanks that are part of the network are from Latin America and so on. So most innovation means we are innovation. And what we want to do, what we want to do, as our name claims, is to defend innovation and human creativity.
BRENT: [And that's interesting. So is it I mean, is it is a pro commercial kind of position? Is that it?
FEDERICO: No. It's a most of our members, including the Foundation International Voices, which is my think tank, we are basically civil society organizations. We, most of us are related to an open economy, free markets, the rule of law. And those are the are the values we want to promote. And we believe that most of them are totally in contact with innovation. And we want particularly Latin America to be to become fertile ground for innovation.
BRENT: Well, I saw the connection in some of the research that there is a basis of the Austrian School of Economics.
FEDERICO: Indeed, yeah. Yeah, we're very much, at least in Fondazione buses. We're very much influenced by the Austrian school.
BRENT: Yeah, well, that's excellent. I mean, Ludwig von Mises and of course Hayek as well. We don't get a lot of actual discussion. I mean, in the US that would be considered more libertarian I would think.
FEDERICO: Yeah, yeah. From the Latin American perspective, let's say that's an interesting debate. The thing is, you know what? What's missing in many countries in Latin America, let's say, is like the conservative part. The political spectrum has turned a lot to the left. So being classically, you know, the Austrian School of Economics is totally classical liberal. They are because it's like that part missing that, you know, you would you would oh I don't know. From Social Democrat then to conservative and then to like libertarian. And well, that part in some countries is, is not present anymore.
BRENT: So turning to tobacco harm reduction, because it does kind of suffer from not having enough of that perspective I think involved in the debate.
FEDERICO: Yeah. Yeah, indeed. Indeed, indeed. And it's, you know, Latin America, it's unfortunately a region in which all these innovative solutions to smoking, which probably are the ones that that have put us the closest to solve the issue of smoking. So you can imagine we don't have a prohibitionist view about, you know, smoking tobacco in at all. But I mean, everybody acknowledges that it's an issue. And, you know, thank God. And thanks to innovation, we have now a lot of good alternatives that can literally save millions and millions of lives. And in Latin America, with a couple of very honourable exceptions, the situation is quite bad. Of course, this product, these products exist, they are available, but at best in the grey market, usually in the black market without any controls that, you know, actually what you are buying and who's your seller. So there's a lot to improve.
BRENT: So when it comes to e-cigarettes, say for nicotine products, do you Vape or. Right. So that's and that's interesting because so the organizations are interested in this issue, correct me if I'm wrong, because it fits so squarely in that more classical liberal space.
FEDERICO: It because of that definitely of course we believe in. Personal responsibility. But we also let's say when we launch the network two and a half years ago, it's you know, innovation is a very vast camp. And we try to and we see innovation basically as, you know, as a way in which civil society, individuals, you know, as citizens, we get involved in problem solving. That's really the how we see innovation. And that's why we wanted to see to see it thrive. And we tried to pick when we started, let's say we're quite open. If you see, we do a lot of activities, we publish a lot of papers and articles on completely different topics. We are, let's say we are not a pro harm reduction organization. We do a lot of other things. But particularly when we started, we tried to pick issues that were not only innovative but also have a very profound human impact. And that really changed people, people's lives. That's why when we started, most of our work was focused, for instance, on the sharing economy and how many people can get work opportunities thanks to that, particularly immigrants, young people who for in many countries, it's very difficult for them to start in the in the in the job market. We also are very much concerned about everything that has to do with fintech technology. Why? Because in Latin America, 40% of adults are still unbanked. And this is also why we are so much involved in everything that has to do with tobacco harm reduction, because we feel that vaping, heated tobacco, the nicotine pouches are really the best ways to solve the issue of smoking, which is definitely a problem.
BRENT: So let's compare, say, for nicotine products as a as a source of innovation compared to these other examples. Which one's easier to sell, huh?
FEDERICO: That's a good question. All you know, it's a lot that's, let's say, is extremely encouraging and also a little bit savvy, you know, depending how you how you see it by the end of 2019, you know, our idea was that the network was basically born in the second half of 2019. And our idea was to do a big launch across the region, because really we have partners and members, you know, in basically every country in Latin America. So we picked a couple Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and we wanted to do events launching the network, let know people that, you know, we have partners here, our members that, you know, are going to do all this innovation work. Well, of course, 2020, nothing could, could, could happen as we wanted. But in order to for that for that launch, we commissioned a survey, an opinion poll, which probably is the first of its kind done in Latin America, as far as we know it is. And we're happy to be corrected. But so as you know, it is and we it was done by a professional company and we asked a citizens, in fact, in these five countries, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico, what do they what they think about innovation? It's not that we were in what impact has in their lives is not that we were we were looking for what's the most innovative country, what's the one with most start-ups, not what the population of these countries think. And the results were amazing. And I think, you know, from since we did this in 2010 until now, probably if we run it again, they will even improve. People don't want to I mean, they value innovation. They understand that it does a lot for their well-being material. And also even spiritually they don't. Nobody is there is no claim for a prohibitionist way wave of any kind in Latin America. On the contrary, the results were very similar in each country, which really tells you that the civil society of Latin America wants to grow in a in a in a certain direction, which I think I think it's very good that has not been reflected yet, unfortunately, in in some of the of the member. Of the political class. I think that is going to I think that is changing.
BRENT: So there's resistance to accepting safer nicotine products as innovation?
FEDERICO: Definitely, yeah. But not from the people from the controlling bodies in the same happens with the sharing economy with. It's very funny. During the first trimester of 2020, many of the most I don't want to mention them, but many of the most famous companies of what we would call sharing economy or gig economy were being literally demonized in many countries in Latin America. And, of course, then the pandemic hit and they basically save our lives because, you know, they allowed, you know, many people to continue working, many people to get goods, you know, and things provided to their homes. So there's this tension. So all you know, all these things have for instance, in my country, in Argentina today, there is a big push by the government in order to basically destroy the business model of low cost airlines, which is which basically means putting them, you know, minimum prices. And if you cannot compete by price, you know, and you're a low cost, it's very difficult to compete at all. But that is not something that is coming from the civil society. And one of the things we are trying to do, and I think we have had quite some successes already, is to try to let people who are in decision making positions to know that it's not what our civil societies are demanding. And, you know, you probably you're going to make a mistake in your in your political career. If you become the candidate of the status quo, you should be the candidate of the future. There's a lot of demand for that.
BRENT: What's the reputation for nicotine vaping products in your regions?
FEDERICO: It's growing. There are a lot of cases because, you know, one of the I think one of let's say we get sales points, you know, for a safer nicotine products are the stories of the people who used to smoke 60 cigarette per day that tried every other thing in the book, you know, in order to quit. And they couldn't. And they started, for instance, vaping. And one week after that, they never touch a cigarette again forever. And in those stories are all the time. But of course, on the other hand, you have sometimes media in a place I don't want to demonize anything. I'm not saying it in a bad way. But, you know, for instance, with the this very fake and fabricated crisis that was the so called evali and things like that, that and of course, since all these products are from the black market and unregulated, sometimes you can have, you know, something that is not properly produced, but it's not because of vaping. It's not because of the issue. It's just because when you buy in the black market, whatever you buy on the black market, it's probably not going to be what you expect. So there are there are those problems, that reputation. I think in any case, you know, it's not absolutely tainted. But there are these issues. And then, well, it's something we have to let say, try to change.
BRENT: What about nicotine? What's the reputation for nicotine?
FEDERICO: Yeah, again, I mean, and, you know, we are at the at the Geffen. And this is something that the problem is, you know, that the traditional cigarettes have a very bad reputation and probably with, you know, very good, good reasons. And sometimes many people and many people probably in total good faith, you know, just because they haven't, you know, been properly informed tend to equate the damages that smoking cigarettes can produce to your body with the substance of nicotine, which well, it's not the case, but there is, you know, that that that issue is present in many countries and explicitly some a ministries of health and you know so certain health authorities mention nicotine as the reason why they would they would never legalize, you know, vaping or other alternatives.
BRENT: And in the media, do they give, say, for nicotine products a fair shake?
FEDERICO: It's a that's a very good question. My impression is that four or five years ago, there were there was a much more positive view than the one that it is than the one that we have today. You could you could find from time to time these kinds of stories that we were talking a few minutes ago of, you know, of people that literally smoked, you know, tens, you know, dozens of cigarettes per day. And they couldn't. And thanks to vaping, they stopped. You could see featured, you know, baby vaping activists. Now the mentions, let's say, are quite scattered in time. And when they and when they are mentioned is usually under like a bad umbrella, you know.
BRENT: So that's like the opposite of innovation. Innovation is supposed to keep moving forward.
FEDERICO: We can have a discussions and arguments about lots of things and debates and that's very that's very positive and important. But there are very, very few reasons that any public administration, any government can, at the same time have cigarettes being legal and safer, nicotine products being illegal. You know, let's say that that is, you know, really it's absolutely illogical and probably ridiculous. There are clearly certain issues that don't have anything to do with, let's say, reason and debate. There are other clearly other problems and other situations that are making this happening. And well, that is what we're trying to fight in this case. But this is not a rational debate in many occasions.
BRENT: And is that not what's happening in Mexico today?
FEDERICO: Yeah, indeed. Indeed. It makes it that's the situation in Mexico. I mean, we have to also understand that and I'm trying let's say, trying to be as polite as possible. Mexico has probably the worst government in the last 50 years at this time. And let's say this unfortunately, this this very. Destructive attitudes have, you know, happened in many other in many areas of the economy and of Mexican society coming from the government. The government the national government of Mexico forbid they were they had already, I think a year ago or so, forbidden all imports from safer nicotine products. And now they basically for any trade, you cannot sell them. They have turned basically Vaping into plutonium. You know, you cannot sell it, you cannot buy it, you cannot import it. Exporting its something like that. To add insult to injury, one of the reasons they use is that they call vaping as part of a new tobacco product when we all know that vaping doesn't have tobacco. So that's the kind of reasoning behind this. These measures, this this is really this is not something well thought. This is not something that it's been done for a, I don't know, faulty research or something like that. This is really something it looks like something more emotional or driven. God knows for what. But this has nothing to do with the facts or this has nothing to do with reason.
BRENT: And it's certainly going to leave millions, if not, you know, several millions of vapers out in the cold, you know, in Mexico and elsewhere. It's it seems it seems very heavy handed what they've done there. How much of an influence overall has the scares coming out of the US driven.
FEDERICO: Huh. That's well you know whatever happens in the US always has an impact you know in Latin America and the same as whatever happens in Mexico has an impact in Latin America. So this is let's say this is not a good news in any way, but definitely a I mean, a valley is a US manufactured fake disease and well it has become in the last year and a half, two years even though it's been completely debunked and I mean and nothing that it was called a valley had to do with vaping per se. It had to do with, you know, using papers for things that they are not used with e-liquids they were that were illegal and absolutely adulterated. But anyway. But that still is something that it's mentioned. What about the valley and what about this lung disease? And what if we allow vaping and this happens? And in Argentina, of course, we have probably today more than a million people, probably more, maybe 2 million people who vape they have never suffered of Evali or anything like that. But well, that doesn't count. And you know, four or five, six cases that happened in the US with people doing something completely different that they should, they should have been doing with a with a vaping device. It's still a very, let's say, powerful argument against safer nicotine products. So it's quite sad. It's a very bad influence, sorry to say.
BRENT: Yeah, for sure. So what do you hope to get out of attending the Global Forum on Nicotine here?
FEDERICO: Ha. Well, let's say, you know, it's firstly it's a magnificent event. I came here for the first time in 2019 because, you know, we were launching so much innovation. This was one of the topics that we were concerned about. And it's, you know, it's a great place to meet people to, you know, to listen to great talks about, you know, the current issues, the challenges that also the opportunities, the research about all the all these topics. And it's really overall a magnificent experience. They can see that the main organisers do an amazing job and it's also really great that they have been able after, you know, the two years that we were quite hit by the pandemic to do it again in person. One thing that I loved from my first experience in 2009 is how, let's say, how global this event is. You have people from every continent, you know, from many countries around the globe. And before this one, I was thinking, hey, maybe, you know, after the pandemic is not going to be that easy. And they made it again. There are people from everywhere. You can see that really this is a global movement because there are more than a billion people who smoke. There are a lot of people who currently vape and there are a lot of people who want to improve their lives. And these are really the tools probably for many of them, not most, not all maybe, but for many of them to finally quit. And this is really a big issue. And this is this in the end, of course, we approach this from an innovative perspective in. A sense, like I was saying at the beginning, we really think this is finally the problem solving tool that we needed in order to solve this issue. But this is also a very human issue. If, you know, to whoever it's in doubt, even if you smoke or not. But if you are just you just you know, you just care about these issues. Just listen to the people who listen to their stories. Listen of their struggle, listen of how impossible for them it was to quit smoking and what vaping and other alternatives made for their lives, for their relationship with their families, you know, not being constantly, you know, smelling, not having your house full of, you know, and cigarettes and things like that, you know, not being able to climb the stairs again and things like that, you know, if you cannot empathise with that, you know, maybe you don't have a heart.
Joanna: That’s all for today. Tune in next time, here on GFN TV or on our new podcast, for more tobacco harm reduction updates and Brent’s interview with Ernest Groman, the Scientific Director of the Nicotine Institut Vienna in Austria. Thanks for watching - or listening! See you next time.