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The United Nations’ World Health Organization projects that a billion people will die this century from smoking. In the next 20 years, there will be half a billion new smokers around the world.
While the number of smokers continues to rise dramatically, approximately 70% of them want to kick the habit. Sadly, the products doctors recommend are rarely effective -- and some smoking cessation medicines are even known to lead to suicide. As rates of smoking-related death and disease continue to spiral out of control, many smokers feel trapped with very little options.
Thirteen years ago, a Chinese scientist and heavy smoker invented a vapor technology that successfully gave him, and other smokers, a safe, non-prescriptive, affordable, and effective way to stop smoking. This technology is regarded by health professionals around the world to be not only 95% safer than smoking, but also highly effective in helping people quit. However, its similarity to the action of smoking has been both its strength and its curse; it was quickly demonized, penalized, and banned in many countries.
As a result, one of the most contentious health debates in the history of public health is raging among smokers and former smokers who use vapor technology, government regulators who benefit from cigarette sales, and the powerful pharmaceutical industry.
It’s the making of a perfect storm.
To find the truth, award-winning director and executive producer Aaron Biebert traveled across four continents, interviewing medical doctors, scientists, technologists and policy makers from major international health organizations who are working to save a billion lives. What he found was shocking: complete government failure, widespread corruption in the public health community, and the manipulation of both perpetrated by the big businesses who profit from the sale of tobacco and smoking cessation drugs.
Featured in the film are these compelling interviews with leading experts from major international health organizations, including:
· Dr. Derek Yach – Former Executive Director for the World Health Organization (WHO) and currently Chief Health Officer of the Vitality Institute. Dr. Yach serves on several advisory boards including the World Economic Forum and the National Institutes of Health’s Fogarty International Centre.
· Dr. Delon Human – Former President of the World Medical Association (WMA) and adviser to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.
· “The Winston Man” – David Goerlitz, a retired professional model known around the world as “The Winston Man” throughout the 80’s, was the first representative of the tobacco industry to not only quit smoking, but to advocate against smoking while employed by a cigarette company.
· Clive Bates – UK Director of Counterfactual, a public interest consultancy and advocacy practice, who previously worked in tobacco control and at the United Nations.
· Hon Lik – Long time smoker and technologist, Lik is the inventor of the modern e-cigarette who successfully used his invention to stop smoking.
A Billion Lives shows how pharmaceutical companies, anti-smoking advocacy groups, tobacco companies, and even our own state and federal governments are to blame for the disinformation, over-regulation, and banning of e-cigarettes worldwide.
A Billion Lives is a production of Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Attention Era Media. Funded by the production company without funding from any outside organizations, the feature film won the Supreme Jury Prize and Best Director awards at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival when it premiered in Australia (July 2016). It also received a Remi Award from the Worldfest Houston International Film Festival, and the Dorn Award from the Global Forum on Nicotine. A Billion Lives made its North American premiere in Milwaukee, WI (August 2016), followed by Paris, France and Johannesburg, South African premieres (September 2016). Earlier this year, the film premiered to rave reviews at the Doc Edge Festival in Wellington, New Zealand (May 2016). It also premiered in Europe at the Palace of Culture in Warsaw, Poland (June 2016).