In Warsaw this June, The Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) will celebrate its 10th edition, with a packed programme reflecting on the last decade in safer nicotine use and looking forward to the next. This annual event remains the only international conference to focus on the role of safer nicotine products in helping people quit smoking and risky tobacco use.
Despite decades of global tobacco control efforts, a billion people still smoke worldwide. With eight million smoking-related deaths each year, tobacco use is the leading cause of non-communicable diseases. Nicotine vapes, Swedish snus, nicotine pouches and heated tobacco products are all substantially safer than smoking, and safer nicotine products have an important role to play in helping those who cannot quit to switch to safer alternatives, in an approach known as tobacco harm reduction.
From Wednesday 21 to Saturday 24 June 2023, GFN23: Tobacco harm reduction - the next decade will revisit the key milestones of the last ten years, assess today’s complex political, regulatory and scientific environment, and discuss the challenges and opportunities of the future.
Key sessions will cover diverse topics such as the changing face of nicotine; the politics of scientific publishing;what we have learned in the last ten years of nicotine science; and reducing the environmental impact of tobacco harm reduction. Over fifty thought leaders from the field will speak on panels, at plenary sessions and workshops, all designed to maximise delegate participation and discussion.
Professor Gerry Stimson, co-founder of the event, reflected on the decision to establish the conference:
“The Global Forum on Nicotine was born in 2014 from a sense of optimism. We thought we were on the cusp of a breakthrough, and that with safer nicotine products, millions of premature deaths from smoking could be avoided. If played right, we felt sure harm reduction for tobacco could be a huge individual and public health success.
“We remain optimistic, despite the obstacles that have emerged in the last decade. While the effects of poor policy and regulation can be seen in places like the US, India and Australia, we are bearing witness to the fact that, in the right circumstances, millions of smokers will rapidly switch to safer alternatives, as in the UK, Norway, Sweden, Japan and New Zealand. Consumer interest and good products are driving tobacco harm reduction. Regulators, parliamentarians and legislators might slow things down or speed them up, but it's not a matter of whether tobacco harm reduction will happen, but when.”
Paddy Costall, event co-founder, added:
“I’m proud of the way the Global Forum on Nicotine has galvanised the energy and enthusiasm of people who use safer nicotine products since the start, providing them with a platform and a way to connect. Ours is the only conference in the smoking, tobacco and nicotine arena which welcomes all the players involved in tobacco harm reduction - consumers, regulators, parliamentarians, manufacturers and scientists - with no bans on who can attend or who can speak. It’s hugely frustrating that we are yet to see an open and honest debate on tobacco harm reduction’s potential with actors in global tobacco control. But GFN will continue to offer a platform for all stakeholders that are committed to helping people quit smoking, however they choose to do so.”
Registration is open now, with discounted accommodation rates available until 19 May. An open call for GFNFives (short video posters) remains live until 2 May. In-person attendance is required to participate in the full GFN23 programme, but limited sessions will be streamed at no cost for registered participants unable to travel. Simultaneous translation into both Spanish and Russian will be available both onsite and online for some sessions, and for the first time, two sessions will be held in Spanish and translated to English.
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