Upcoming Partnered Events 2018

Science Forum South Africa
12 – 14 December 2018

AAAS 2019 Annual Meeting
14-17 February, 2019
Washington DC, USA

15h15 – 16h30, Wednesday 11th July 2018, ESOF 2018 Toulouse.

Theme: Health in our societies
Cross cutting approaches: • Inequalities • Ethics • Risk and safety
Target audience: scientists, media, industry & business, policy-makers, general public, students


This ‘panel of opposites’ examines the science behind addictions and their brain reward systems, how ‘toxicant detectives’ find and determine harms and industry claims behind today’s product innovations such as vaping and e-cigarettes. Smoking remains the major preventable cause of death in the 21st century, as it was in the 20th.

As richer countries kick the habit with usage rates plummeting (especially amongst youth), and more former-smokers around than actual smokers, poorer countries continue to take it up. At least 1.5 billion people are smokers. 7 million people die from smoking each year. That’s 13 times the population of Toulouse. We now expect 3 out of every 4 people who smoke for the nicotine to die from the tar. But hold on, what happens if they switch to new nicotine delivery products?

Might this ‘institutionalised’ manslaughter’ stop? This session unites leading medical, policy, industry and civil society experts to explore the latest data for and against. According to Public Health England, e-cigarettes are 95% safer than classic cigarettes. According to US National Institutes of Health, smoking kills. Vaping they are not yet sure about. Yet, health experts increasingly accept mounting evidence from public and private researchers that these disruptive innovations play a positive, life-changing role in supporting switching, supporting quitting and discouraging relapse i.e. increasing total cessation.

While the jury is out, this panel will argue that the global scientific, regulatory and ethical picture from acceptance to partial and total bans is a mess. As experts for and against mount onslaughts at the WHO, FDA and EU, evidence-based science is taking a back seat. Therefore, our focus will be separating fact from fiction, now made possible by unprecedented advances in clinical trials, information gathering, toxicological risk evaluation, medical imaging and analysis. Our common aim is advocating for greater empathy and challenging the way societies view nicotine and those that use it.

Relevance of the selected approaches:

ESOF 2018 cannot, in our minds, tackle only valid high-brow science such as frontier research, graphene etc. to the exclusion of pressing public issues. We believe that science is relevant to politics, policy and power because it is based on evidence and gets it right most of the time. This concrete public health case-study impacts millions in Europe and abroad, going to the heart of the nexus between risk and safety assessment, ethical issues and inequalities in our societies. With its cauldron of competing interests, knowledge about next generation nicotine technologies is ever more complex, contingent and contested. This session will appeal to all ESOF 2018 delegates and Science in the City participants.

Co-organised by: Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health Sciences & SciCom – Making Sense of Science.

Irish Flag

Aidan Gilligan (IRL):
Founder & CEO, SciCom – Making Sense of Science; Elected Member, EuroScience Governing Board; Vice-Chair, ESOF 2018 International Media & Marketing Committee.
Mozambique Flag Moderator:
Professor Lidia Brito (MZ):
Director for Science Policy, UNESCO Regional Bureau for Latin America & the Caribbean; Champion, Open Forum for Latin America & the Caribbean (CILAC); Former Minister for Science of Mozambique.
South African Flag Speaker:
Prof. Julian Kinderlerer (SA):
Member, European Commission Group in Ethics in Science & New Technologies (EGE) & Emeritus Professor of IP Law, Cape Town University.
German Flag Co-Organiser & Speaker:
Professor Thomas Hartung (DE):
Professor and Chair for Evidence-based Toxicology; Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dept. of Environmental Health Sciences.
German Flag Speaker:
Professor Manuel Peitsch (DE):
Chief Scientific Officer, Philip Morris International.
French Flag Discussant:
Dominique Leglu (FR):
Editor in chief, Science et Avenir & Chair, ESOF 2018 International Media & Marketing Committee.
UK Flag Discussant TBC:
Dr Lynne Dawkins (UK):
Associate Professor, London South Bank University.