You are being lied to. This is what filmmaker Aaron Biebert insists. It’s also the title of his long-awaited documentary about the fight for vaping rights. Biebert isn’t a vaper himself, he’s not even a smoker, but he can clearly see what many people aren’t – vaping is a way out for many smokers, and this is a big fight that is far from over. He even admits that inttially he saw the electronic cigarette movement as some strange fad, but the closer he looked, the more he realized how important it was to the future of many.
When we say many, Biebert says a billion. His movie is titled “A Billion Lives” to reflect what is at stake if smoking continues and vaping is stomped out of existence. He explains it on the movie’s official site this way:
“A billion people are projected to die this century from smoking and there’s a solution. It’s not a perfect one, but it will save lives by reducing the harm caused from cigarettes by switching smokers to vaping nicotine. Unfortunately, there are big players with vested interests in keeping this new technology away from the masses.”
It’s a staggering number, but who is to say Biebert isn’t right? The figure itself comes from the World Health Organization estimates of how many people will die of smoking in the next century. He’s also done the research and has flown across four continents to understand the gravity of the issue. It reassured him that this was a topic he wanted for his first feature film. “Here’s a technology that’s helping 45 million people quit smoking so far and it’s being lied about in the media and fraudulent studies are being published. How is this possible? And a billion people dying – that’s a topic that we figured would be pretty big,” Biebert explained to Milwaukee Public Radio.
Will People Take Notice Of A Billion Lives?
While Biebert is trying to get the word out about how huge this issue is, we wonder if people will take notice. His movie recently had its world premier in Milwaukee and is slated to enter a theater run elsewhere, but will the right people go see it? We hope so, because this documentary can change lives, and even safe lives.
In it, Biebert interviews a long list of very knowledgeable figures. One of which was Dr. Derek Yach, who formerly served as the Executive Director of the World Health Organization. Biebert remembers how Dr. Yach told him, “Yeah, we’re screwing this up bad. This is bad.” It made a big impact on the filmmaker, who explained that Dr. Yach is “the original anti-smoking guy and he’s saying ‘This stuff, this vaping could save a billion people and we’re literally blowing this off.'”
It’s a scary picture, and on that we know all too well here. We’ve seen how the vaping community has had to fight for everything that it got, and how that isn’t over yet. The stakes are too high and there is still too much money involved. “The more cigarettes sold in a state, the more money they make. I know it’s a lot like a tax, but it’s actually paid behind the scenes,” says Biebert. It’s frightening to think that health decisions are made with monetary interests in mind, but I suppose we can’t be naïve about how the world works.
That’s why it’s so important to get as many people out there to see this movie. The public doesn’t fully understand how these decisions are being made against their best interests. They need to know so they can stand up and take back the power that we all have. That’s the entire point of “A Billion Lives” if you think about it.
So if you’re out sometime this week or over the weekend, see if you can find it playing somewhere. Or ask your local theater why it isn’t. We need this issue to be visible and fight the misinformation out there. The more Aaron Bieberts there are in the world, the better. We could use all the help we can get.