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Join us for the thirteenth episode of GFN Voices 2023!

Brian Erkkila & Urs Bringold reflect on this year's developments at ISoNTech #GFN23


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Joanna Junak: Hello, Brian. Hello. You have participated in ISoNTech several times. What are your thoughts?

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Brian Erkkila: I mean, I think it's a really wonderful place to come and learn about what's new and what's the most innovative products in the nicotine and tobacco space, right? You know, it's a place you can learn about a lot of the cutting edge of reduced risk products. So I've always loved coming to this.

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Joanna Junak: What product or research has your company introduced since the last ISoNTech?

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Brian Erkkila: Since the last ISoNTech, we've been really working hard on our nicotine pouches and a lot of research that we've been doing in those, whether it comes to the chemical analysis to show that these have a favorable risk profile, how they deliver nicotine, and most importantly, how consumers are actually using the product. So we've been able to tell people, you know, how people change their use of other products like cigarettes when they start using nicotine pouches and showing that this transition can happen.

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Joanna Junak: So I will ask you about the situation in Sweden regarding snus and nicotine pouches and the use of it.

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Brian Erkkila: yeah yeah so one thing we always talk about is what we call the swedish experience right and what the swedish experience shows is that over the last 50 years or so you've seen a real shift in the country from use of combusted cigarettes to using oral nicotine or oral tobacco such as snus and actually at this point uh the use of oral tobacco products such as snus and nicotine pouches is higher than combusted cigarettes. And so while that's really great from a market level, we also know that Sweden now has the lowest levels of tobacco mortality across the EU and the UK. One of the lowest smoking rates in the world and one of the lowest levels of tobacco related mortality. So it shows that tobacco harm reduction can work on a population level.

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Joanna Junak: So this year's trap line is tobacco harm reduction in the next decade. What do you think needs to change within the next 10 years?

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Brian Erkkila: A couple things. So there's events like this that really raise awareness of products. Our nicotine pouches are very popular sort of in Scandinavia and in the United States where I primarily work. So we need awareness of these products and not only that they exist, but that they're much less risky than other tobacco products. And, you know, there's a couple things to that. We need to recruit the right people. We need to have public health understand that. We need to have physicians understand that. And ultimately, we need to have consumers understand that. And I would say the biggest thing there is for people to understand nicotine, right? That nicotine is not the driver. of the main driver of death and disease from tobacco products, that it's other things in there. And nicotine on its own doesn't cause cancer, right? And I think in the next 10 years, we really need to make progress on that. There's been some wonderful talks at the GFN about this, but I think that's really where we have to put our efforts.

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Joanna Junak: So, have you had the opportunity to participate in sessions at GFN?

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Brian Erkkila: I've participated in many sessions.

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Joanna Junak: So, which topic seems to be most interesting for you?

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Brian Erkkila: Well, as I just said, you know, I'm a, I'm a, I'm a scientist. And so there was a wonderful talk this morning about nicotine and the potential benefits of nicotine when it comes to things like attention, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, you know, and so while we're trying to really get the message across that it doesn't cause problems, nicotine in itself, that it was really interesting to learn about sort of maybe some potential benefits of the molecule.

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Joanna Junak: Great. Thank you so much. Thank you. What are your thoughts about the ISoNTech and in general about the GFN conference?

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Urs Bringold: I like the conference very much because it's a conference where a lot of different people meet each other from different sides. You have consumer advocates, the industry can be here. There is interesting talks for scientists and about science behind the products and all that. So it's a very broad spectrum that is here and a lot of people have the chance to interact with each other and to learn from each other. And Dyson Tech, what I like about that one, is that it's a chance for the industry, not as part of GFN, but as a separate part, to present to each other and to interested people about interesting facts they have to share and scientific studies that they do or technical improvements that they do. And I always find it interesting to see what other people do as well. And then also in the breaks and in the evening to have a discussion with people we normally don't talk. and again learn from each other and do that.

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Joanna Junak: And what products or research are you currently working on?

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Urs Bringold: At Philip Morris of course we have a broad range of products that compared to combustible cigarettes or cigarettes that you burn are a better alternative for people that don't quit smoking. And on that is the studies that we're doing are similar, they're following the same path, starting with how those products are manufactured in a good way, then that those products don't emit the harmful chemicals to the level that cigarettes do, and then from that, effects that it can have on cell cultures or on the body to ensure throughout the chain of events that those products are a better alternative than continuing smoking, as I said. and it's a bit led by our first product that we have that is tobacco and the other products they follow the same path of the studies.

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Joanna Junak: Have you had opportunity to attend any sessions at GFN?

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Urs Bringold: Well, unfortunately, just a few, because my role and the role of my colleague is to be here at the booth and to explain and to discuss with people that have questions to what we do. I had the chance to attend a bit on the first day and sometimes we change with each other and we go on. It's very interesting, but not everybody can always be. Somebody has to stand it.

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Joanna Junak: But which topic on the conference seems to be most interesting for you?

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Urs Bringold: I think everything is actually interesting for me. I found the first session very interesting, where I just had a look back of the 10 years, because it's always good to see where we all came from, how things changed, what thoughts people had there, what expectations, what hopes and where we are today. And I think with many people that I talked to today, they said 10 years ago, nobody would have thought that it is in that shape as it is now. People had different ideas and different things, but that so many brought out so many people so many ideas are there 10 years after what was an idea at the time I think is a very positive.

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Joanna Junak: Great, thank you so much. You're welcome.