GFN 2019 - Where Science and Policy Meet

Posted 17th June 2019 by Dave Cross
Professor Gerry Stimson, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, is the program director of the 6th Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN). The conference took place in Warsaw, Poland, last week, and POTV will be covering a number of the presentations and news in depth over the coming days.

“The rapid development and use of safer nicotine products raises a number of challenging scientific questions about safety, who uses them and why, and the impact on smoking. These products also raise challenges for governments who seek to understand what kind of policy and regulation is appropriate,” said the organisers.

“The unique, inclusive nature of the GFN continues to provide a platform for exchange and debate of often-contentious issues. This is made possible by the commitment of all who attend it to do so with an open mind and to examine the evidence in making decisions and judgements. This is the basis of our claim that GFN is ‘the only place where science and policy meet’.”

Gerry Stimson announced: “We are moving away from the world of combustion. From internal combustion engines and cigarette combustion, we are moving to new ways of delivering energy and delivering pleasure.”

Welcoming attendees to the leading event, Prof. Stimson added: “Over 600 people registered, over 70 countries represented, you’d have to get a ticket on eBay if you hadn’t got one in time…the foremost international conference on nicotine. It’s time to talk about nicotine - and examine why people enjoy using nicotine. It’s not a conference about tobacco control, it’s about tobacco harm reduction and the potential of products such a snus, e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products to provide safer alternatives to smoking.”

“A lot of misconceptions abound around nicotine among many scientists and tobacco control organisations, among many parliamentarians and governments. What GFN aims to do is challenge these misconceptions.”

“I’m particularly pleased that we have many people coming to GFN for the first time, and from parts of the world that haven’t been well represented before. We have a large contingent this year from Africa, which is currently witnessing some interesting harm reduction developments.”

“I’d also like to give a warm welcome to the KAC tobacco harm reduction scholars, twenty- five scholars. These are the next generation tobacco harm reductionists.”

“GFN is inclusive," continued Prof. Stimson. "It’s an unrivalled platform for the debate on what are often contentious issues, and all are welcome here – there are no rules on who can and who cannot attend or who can and cannot speak. So all who come here are really committed to do so and examine the evidence when making decisions and judgements.”

“It’s thanks to you, GFN, that this is the only place where science and policy meet.”

Sessions took place across a number of halls, and in satellite events in different locations in the Polish capital. Some focussed on science, some on policy and others were devoted to advocacy. Conflicting opinions were explored through debate and reasoned argument, modelling how public health figures and legislators should be proceeding with analysis of the issues relating to safer nicotine products.

Planet of the Vapes was delighted to attend the world’s largest forum for discussing vaping and we will be bringing you detailed coverage from the event across the week.

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker