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Following the success of the fourth Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw, another series of GFN Dialogues took place in October and November.

These were free to attend, short, focussed events designed to enable interactive discussion and debate. They involved public health professionals, academics and scientists, policy makers, consumers, owners and managers of premises and members of the public, tackling a range of issues surrounding the increasing use of safer nicotine products (including e-cigarettes) as an alternative to smoking.

During each dialogue a panel of speakers representing different perspectives each made short presentations, addressing a topic relating to nicotine use. A moderated Q&A and discussion session involving the audience followed the presentations.

The series was themed on ‘Understanding Vaping’. There were three events and each examined different aspects of vaping, including why people vape, the role of vaping in switching from smoking and the challenges vaping presents to public health. We also looked at the role of other alternative nicotine products, such as heat not burn and oral tobacco products, such as snus.

In Dublin on Tuesday 24th October 2017 we asked some fundamental questions, including:

  • Is it possible to negotiate consensus on vaping in public spaces?
  • Who should educate smokers & the general public, on safer forms of nicotine?
  • What is the impact of regulation on smokers & vapers?
  • Does the media's portrayal of the science on vaping inform or confuse?
  • Between personal choice and public health; where should 'safer nicotine use' sit on this spectrum?

In London on Tuesday 31st October 2017 we looked at restrictions on vaping for people already experiencing disadvantage, such as those detained in secure environments, those who have experienced trauma, are homeless, or from other marginalised groups. In all these instances smoking rates and the associated health risks are manifestly higher than in the general population. Questions included:

  • Who are we taking about?
  • What function does smoking perform for different groups?
  • What are the impediments to switching to safer forms of nicotine use for disadvantaged people?
  • What role can professionals play in changing behaviour?

In Durham on Thursday 2nd November we examined the positive aspects of nicotine use. Questions included:

  • Why do people vape?
  • What is the ‘pleasure principle’?
  • Is nicotine dependence a problem, and if so for whom?