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In this episode of GFN Voices, Fiona Patten provides her insight into the magic behind GFN23: "There's new progress to discuss, new challenges also to discuss, but I think that the science that is presented here is world class."


Hello Fiona, it's nice to see you again in Warsaw this year.

Thank you, Joanna.

It's so good to be back and amongst friends.

Can you tell us what do you think about this year's GFN Conference?

Each year it seems to mature and everyone who comes has greater knowledge, but each

time there's new progress to discuss, new challenges also to discuss.

But I think the science that's presented here is world class and the voice of the consumer

is getting more sophisticated, which it must do.

But it's great to see and hear it here at GFN.

You chaired the session Tobacco Harm Reduction the Next Decade.

What are your thoughts?

I think we've still got challenges and I think coming from Australia where we're seeing really

draconian legislation being planned, it's hard to look optimistically to the next decade.

But I think the consumer is telling us what's happening.

We are seeing more and more people turning to safer nicotine products.

We are seeing the science really showing us that this is the way and that it is countering

some of the really bad science, but also very negative campaigns against tobacco harm reduction.

So I hope in the next decade we will see more and more allies.

So I want to see the general harm reduction community address tobacco harm reduction.

I want to see those allies who are out there helping our more vulnerable and disadvantaged

groups become involved with tobacco harm reduction.

And I think that is what I see, that we will build this family.

But also we will eventually change those tobacco control rules.

We will eventually change WHO.

They will come around.

It took them a long time to come around to harm reduction in regards to clean needles, for example.

But they did and they will for this too.

You are from Australia, can you tell us why there is so much misinformation around vaping

and safety of e-cigarettes?

I think we have some activists on the other side who have good platforms to press this misinformation.

I think there is another thing and it is a misplaced pride in Australia that we have.

But we think that we were leaders in tobacco control, that we did wonderful things to address

the harms of tobacco and that we know what's right and we don't need to listen to anyone else.

Now we all know that that's wrong.

We know that that's not scientific.

If you just listen to your own echo chamber you will learn nothing and that's what's happening

in Australia.

It seems incredible that you can read the Australian Cancer Society's information on

vaping and tobacco harm reduction and the English Cancer Society's information and they

are diametrically opposed.

So we have some very vocal opponents who have high platforms and we have a misplaced pride

in what we have done in tobacco harm reduction more generally and that needs to change.

Thank you so much and hope to see you next year.

Thank you, I hope so too.