I thank the mods who have allowed me to post this here, for the people who are interested in this. I am a guest in your home and I respect that.

I attended the 2nd Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw on the 5th and 6th of June. To say that I had an incredible time would be an understatement.

I had the opportunity to arrive early and leave late, and meet with the organisers and other conference goers over 5 days. I met with the world’s most important leaders, advocates and scientists within the revolutionary movement of tobacco harm reduction, (THR) and not only briefly, but over long dinners and drinks and chats far into the night. I was sleep deprived, but didn't feel it!

It all started with my activism on Twitter, and the organisers were extremely keen to get some people from Australia there, appalled as we are about the current situation here. They contacted me and invited me to attend. I offered to give a little talk, and suddenly I found I was in the last plenary session with one of the most important figures in vaping politics, Clive Bates!

I had been trying, behind the scenes, to try and get some discussions with politicians happening with no success before this. Last year I was initially invited to talk at a Victorian conference about ecigs, but I was struck from the program at the last minute. The antis want to keep us silenced, and so far they have been successful beyond their wildest dreams. All my accumulated frustrations made me resolved to make the absolute most of this opportunity to address the world stage. I practiced my speech and refined it over 3 months.

Then I got the most amazing response to my speech, with the only standing ovation of the conference, and all the top advocates and scientists in the world wanted to meet me. Overwhelmed with the global support, it became obvious that I needed to do something with this back in Australia and keep the momentum going.

While in Warsaw I met with many vaping organisations around the world. It became clear that the New Nicotine Alliance, UK, had the best model, having both vapers and public health scientists on their board, and with their main activity being talking one on one with politicians and public health people and engaging at conferences. And they have been spectacularly successful, and have directly caused the mainstream of public health to be supportive of vaping, with 126 public health organisations (pretty much everyone) signing up to a document supportive of vaping.

http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_962.pdf

see page 36 for what they endorsed

I have watched as many vapers organisations have attempted to start up in Australia, cause many arguments, had much infighting, and ultimately failed. My number 1 priority was that if I was going to set this up, we had to avoid this.

By going with a model already established with it’s existing credibility and with strong links internationally we can avoid this failure. I did not seek out to lead this group in Australia, but when we are small and against such powerful groups such as the Cancer Council, most of Public Health, the Pharmaceutical and Tobacco industry, with countless millions of dollars of funding, we need strong and credible leadership, and after Warsaw I became the obvious person to do this.

In Australia, we have tried to stay underground, and all it has led to is defeat after defeat, increasing restrictions, and unchallenged lies that get bigger and bigger as the Tobacco Control establishment feel safe to make whatever ridiculous claims they like, and they are adopted as government policy.

Neither do we want to unnecessarily poke the bear, but we must get in to public health conferences and engage with people. There are many in public health who are not so fixed in their opinions as we believe. As we have seen in the UK, they can turn and become advocates for vaping. Perhaps Simon and Mike never will, but not everyone in public health is like them, many are harm reductionists, and recently we have seen Alex Wodak, the father of harm reduction in Australia, come out in total support for the legalisation of nicotine eliquid and the freedom for brick and mortar stores to sell all ecig gear, liquid and hardware. So far they have been fed the myth of vaping being a tobacco industry plot to hook kids on to lolly flavoured ecigs, but once they hear the other side of the story, that it is actually adults using non-tobacco company vaping to get off cigarettes, and that vaping is the best opportunity they have for achieving an end to smoking, some will change. Also, they are influenced by what is happening in the UK.

We also want to engage with politicians and people in Government. We are very careful to adopt a non-partisan position, but engage with politicians when we have opportunities.

The New Nicotine Alliance, Australia is now established with weekly board meetings, and we are having many discussions, face to face, on the phone, and via email, with many people from public health and other organisations. We are gathering support and leads for further action, and we will be keeping supporters updated regularly. We are all volunteers, not being paid a cent, and our main work is seeking opportunities to engage.

The mods have asked me to keep this thread locked and simply as a thread to inform, and as a guest on the forum, I am happy to do this. The last thing we want is more infighting.

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