You Don’t Know Nicotine

Posted 3rd February 2021 by Dave Cross
Aaron Biebert, the man behind the film ‘A Billion Lives’, has made a hard-hitting documentary about nicotine, the people, the science and the politics. Anybody remotely interested in vaping and frustrated by those opposed to tobacco harm reduction will find ‘You Don’t Know Nicotine’ compelling viewing.

The film begins with a brief history of the anti-tobacco movement before running into the current day where a French farm supplies nicotine extract to the vaping industry, from extraction to purification.

Biebert’s voiceover states: “When I first heard about nicotine vapour technology five years ago, I saw a ton of posts about anti-freeze, toxic metals, cancer causing chemicals and more. Kind of scary. Most of the public still has no idea what’s in the vapour liquids 50 million people are using worldwide. This was the chance to find out first-hand.”

The scene from the pharmaceutical-grade facility stands in stark contrast with the fear-ridden scenes from America. Aaron brings a sense of compassion to his interviews with the teens, “as a dad of a teenager, I naturally get alarmed hearing about bad things happening to kids.” It’s the voice that powers the thought process in those the like of Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids appeal their messages towards.

And he cuts to parents, more specifically the Parents Against Vaping E-cigarettes (PAVE), we meet Erin Mills describing how she, “found a great group of people who are equally passionate about doing the right thing for our kids and getting nicotine out of the hands of them.”

The concern is understandable if you don’t appreciate the facts, if you’ve never encountered evidence from experts. Fortunately, the film takes us to meet them. Unfortunately, Erin and those of her ilk only listen to Stanton Glantz.


Matt Culley interviews Aaron Biebert

Glantz speaks to the camera with the air of a man so convinced of his expertise: “Nicotine probably isn’t the worst thing in cigarettes.” Probably? If you didn’t enter the film disliking Glantz, you will leave it with a deep sense of disapproval – especially bearing in mind the disciplinary hearing convicting him of sexual misconduct when he talks about penis engorgement (for reasons only known to himself).

It’s the balance that carries the film from beginning to end, the sense that when you feel the hairs raising on the back of your neck along will come the balancing viewpoint that goes far beyond countering the views or lies.

They don’t call it wrestling with the facts for nothing.”

You Don’t Know Nicotine is a genuinely interesting documentary made with attention to detail, caring to embrace all views, yet ultimately delivers a product that promotes truth and evidence.


The journey ends leaving the viewer feeling a mix of hope that there are scientists out there doing sterling work and respecting the scientific process balanced with the disillusionment due to hearing directly from those who actively work to suppress legitimately positive findings.

The film was made thanks to the support of Kickstarter donors, none of the finance came from the tobacco industry, the vape industry or the producers of nicotine. It is available to stream online on Ibex now.


  • You Don't Know Nicotine + Bonus Content – [link]

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