Aaron Biebert A Billion Lives director with Jozi Film Festival organiser Lisa Henry

An International documentary wins local award and reveals vaping could save ‘a billion lives’.

The fifth annual Jozi Film Festival closed with an awards evening in Johannesburg on Sunday night. The four-day festival screened 40 films selected from 300 entries. The closing event of the festival honoured the best films in five categories and saw the international documentary feature film directed by Aaron Biebert winning Best International Documentary Film: A Billion Lives.

The controversial documentary revealed that the World Health Organisation projects that a billion people will die this century from smoking. The film’s director and executive producer, Aaron Biebert travelled across four continents, interviewing medical doctors, scientists, technologists and policy makers from major international health organizations to answer some of the many questions on the safety and health concerns around vaping. The independently produced film aimed to highlight tobacco alternatives in order to save lives.

Local and international experts weighed in with their views on the subject. The film uncovered that recent compelling studies have found e-cigarettes and vapour products are 95% safer than smoking cigarettes and can save smoking related pre-mature deaths by 21%.

Biebert became an advocate of ‘smoker’s choice’ after witnessing his friend die from lung cancer. The film also reveals that nicotine is not a killer but tar and burning tobacco is and e-cigarettes can assist in quitting or smoking less.

 E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, tar, or burning and combustion shows how pharmaceutical companies, anti-smoking advocacy groups, tobacco companies, and even governments are to blame for the disinformation, over-regulation and banning of e-cigarettes worldwide.

Winning film director Biebert said “I am immensely honoured to have won this prestigious award and have hosted our African Premiere in South Africa. It was very important for our team to get the message about safer alternatives to smoking to an African audience as part of our global awareness regarding vaping.”A Billion Lives

Electronic Vapour Products Association of South Africa (EASA), the national representative body of the South African e-cigarette industry commended the film for bringing attention to the alternatives to smoking.

“A Billion Lives is a brilliant work that uncovers the real solutions we believe so many people have been waiting for. It addresses questions about both smoking and vaping in a manner that is both informative and insightful, giving all of us access to the global material available and opportunity to make our own choices for our health,” said Dr Zuko Kubukeli, Chairman of EASA.

 Adapted from a press release