Hi friends! Nick Wallis of Enpsychedelia asked me for an update on the current state of vape in the world. I ended up writing an article, I'm not sure if it's what he wanted, as it focuses a lot on GFN 17. So anyway whether he publishes it or not it doesn't matter, you deserve it first, and it will update you somewhat on the goings on in Warsaw! I have several spare hours on my flight home, currently in Vienna, and I have a cool Bluetooth keyboard that allows me to touch type on my phone; hopefully I can write more in Bangkok. The State of Vape across the world. The War on Nicotine and Tobacco Harm Reduction. I just attended the Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw, (GFN17), the premier annual conference for tobacco harm reduction from June 15th to 17th, bringing together all the top scientists, doctors, public health, policy wonks, industry and citizen advocates from across the world. Tobacco harm reduction is the exciting idea that combustion, or smoking, is what kills people, not nicotine, and if the combustion is taken out, novel recreational nicotine products could make smoking obsolete, potentially saving a billion lives and possibly being the greatest single public health innovation in history. The GFN 17 conference is an unashamedly nicotine positive space for those defending the human rights of safer nicotine consumers from the powerful global forces of prohibition and abstinence, fanatically wedded to the ideology of “Quit or Die”. We learned of new developments in the science, policy and advocacy movements and in the technology itself. We heard of the increasing evidence base of our movement, with the proof of concept country, Sweden, now with a smoking rate of just 5%, far lower than the poster-boy of tobacco control orthodoxy, Australia, which has almost triple the smoking rate. Unfortunately, traditional tobacco control is not a results driven enterprise; authoritarian control is much more important to them than people’s lives. Sweden shows us that tobacco harm reduction works, with one of the highest rates of tobacco use in Europe but also enjoying by far the lowest rates of tobacco related illness and death. This is because Swedish nicotine users have the option to separate combustion from recreational nicotine, through the widely used smokeless tobacco product called snus. Many other countries have another option, vaping, otherwise known as “E-cigarettes”. Likewise we heard at the conference how countries such as the UK and the US are now having significant disruption to their nicotine markets with smoking rates falling faster than ever before with the replacement of smoking by vaping due to consumer choice. The tobacco control establishment tries to ignore the fact that smoking rates in their poster boy country Australia have remained stagnant in recent times while now the UK and the US have caught up, and threaten to overtake Australia, because harm reduction is allowed and even encouraged in the case of the UK. New Zealand and Canada have accepted the growing evidence base on the benefits of the disruptive displacement of smoking, and are in the process of legalising vaping and other harm reduction products. Unfortunately, many other countries led by Australia and the World Health Organisation are bullied into adopting the “Quit or Die” war on drugs approach despite the moral bankruptcy of their ideology and it’s obvious failure. In Australia and some other countries it is still illegal to give up smoking by replacing it by vaping. The US faces the threat of outrageous regulations that only tobacco companies have any hope of complying with, this will potentially destroy 99% of the vaping industry if they are not stopped. Over-regulation via the TPD in Europe threatens to stall falling smoking rates there. All these efforts by a powerful global anti-nicotine cabal ironically protect the most harmful nicotine delivery system, the traditional combusted cigarette. We also heard from a proponent of the only new idea in decades of standard tobacco control, the idea of mandating extremely low levels of nicotine in cigarettes to eliminate addiction. It was valuable to hear from the other side, and the ideas were listened to and debated respectfully. I hope there will be more of this in future. I could not resist however politely pointing out that such a strategy, which aims to keep all the harms of cigarettes, with none of the pleasure, is akin to fighting STD’s and HIV by mandating orgasm blocking technology, so that people would have all the harms of sex, with little of the pleasure. It appears that the medieval tobacco control establishment is so morally outraged by people enjoying recreational nicotine that they want to make sure that if they sin, they will be punished by death and disease. GFN 17 also saw the first general meeting of INNCO, the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations, with advocates around the world connecting to create a body that can make the consumer's voice heard at the international level, and also to support new consumer groups developing around the world. The voice of the users whose very lives are at stake will not be silenced! Finally I want to mention the keynote speech and speaker of the conference. We were privileged to hear from Ethan Nadelman, a giant in the drug harm reduction space. He inspired and educated us with the obvious parallels of the war on nicotine with the wider war on drugs. He emphasised the importance of the story of the ordinary person to provide emotional impact of our advocacy, anchoring it in the wider battle for human rights. He inspired us with the power of a people’s movement against entrenched vested interests. He taught us lessons from decades of experience in fighting the dinosaurs of ideology, and the power of building coalitions with the wider harm reduction community. Over three days of exciting, provocative speakers and networking, we go home energised with new knowledge, hope, passion and international allies. Tobacco harm reduction is an idea whose time has come; with new technology developing alongside the increasing power of our human rights movement. We know we are on the right side of history, and this disruptive technology cannot be stopped, but how long will it take and how many people have to die? We know that the battle is urgent, because even one more death is too many. Dr Attila Danko President, New Nicotine Alliance Australia. Consumer advocacy group for users of low risk alternative nicotine products.