Global Forum on Nicotine 2020

The organizers of the Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN), KAC Communications, recently pushed through with the forum via online following the cancellation of the face-to-face event in Warsaw due to Covid-19.

In the wake of the so-called EVALI crisis, and with the review to the European Tobacco Products Directive (TPD 2) and the ninth session of the (now postponed) World Health Organization’s Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on the horizon, 2020 was already set to be a key year for tobacco harm reduction and nicotine science.

Yet as the Covid-19 pandemic grips the world, debates over the impact of smoking and vaping on susceptibility to and severity of the disease, alongside research into nicotine’s potentially protective role, have only heightened focus on this field. Attacks on tobacco harm reduction are intensifying and, now more than ever, a policy must be informed by well-formed evidence and led by science.

In light of all this, KAC Communications launched the online GFN20 on June 11 and 12 when presentations from 30 top expert speakers premiered online on the theme Nicotine: Science, Ethics and Human Rights, before being made available for viewing at any time. Advances in nicotine science, the ethical arguments in favor of tobacco harm reduction, and the human-rights issues for all those who advocate for the right to health will be explored. Anyone can take part in GFN20, for free, from anywhere in the world.

Paddy Costall, co-director of the conference, said: “Since we started in 2014, GFN has always welcomed participants from a hugely diverse range of groups, professions, and disciplines, something of which KAC Communications is rightly proud. Simply put, we believe in freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of speech.

“In the last year, the intensity of attacks on pro-tobacco harm reduction researchers, academics and professionals across the world have increased significantly, with organizations discredited and ad hominem attacks launched on individuals for their beliefs or connections.

“As always, and perhaps even more so in this critical year, GFN is open to everyone with an interest in nicotine science and policy. It is open to everyone who wants to reduce the toll of tobacco-related death and disease worldwide. And it is open to everyone who recognizes that global tobacco control will fail without the strategic addition of tobacco harm reduction, in the form of widespread access to safer nicotine products.”

The forum highlighted the following:

  • Latest science on nicotine, smoking, vaping and Covid-19 from Konstantinos Farsolinos and Riccardo Polosa;
  • Perspectives on ethics and harm reduction from Clive Bates, Marewa Glover, Ethan Nadelmann, Fiona Patten, David Sweanor and Alex Wodak;
  • The Michael Russell Oration from Louise Ross;
  • Plus consumer viewpoints, what’s forthcoming in regulation, ensuring marginalized communities access tobacco harm reduction and much more.

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