Same Team, New Journey – A Billion Lives

Hello, I know it’s been a while since I emailed the A Billion Lives group.
Four years ago this week, many of our friends were sharing photos of their A Billion Lives theater tickets all over the world. It was amazing to see the energy, passion for people, and education that was happening. Thank you for joining our mailing list back then.

After we released A Billion Lives, amazing things happened. New Zealand (where we had our World Premiere at DocEdge) legalized the sale of safer nicotine products for those who were trying to quit smoking. After we held a special event in Iceland with parliamentary leaders and world-renowned experts at Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians, the country decided to take a large penalty each year instead of adopting the EU standards. Now, their smoking rates are the lowest in the world (below 9%). On top of that, large universities and hospital systems were licensing our movie for continuing education. We made a dent.

Yet as time went on, it seemed like we had failed to make a serious impact in most regions around the world. Corrupted leaders driven by pride continued to find ways to keep people smoking cigarettes instead of helping drive the end of smoking to get nicotine.

On top of that, many young adults in the US and elsewhere began to use nicotine vapor devices instead of trying smoking. That wasn’t the case when we made A Billion Lives. That became a glaring issue. While most scientists/activists agreed with us that using nicotine vapor was much safer than cigarettes, the new narrative was that a whole generation of “nicotine addicts” were being hooked.

As a father of a teenager and pre-teen, this was alarming. What had we missed?

What does nicotine do to brains?

I felt like we missed something big with A Billion Lives.

So, as you know, we launched a successful Kickstarter campaign and embarked on a journey to figure this out. Jenni & I brought the kids. As future filmmakers, we wanted to make sure they saw the good, bad, and ugly around this topic.

We wanted to maintain journalistic integrity, and so we chose to take no sides. Rather, we committed to listening deeply to all sides, and defend people who were being attacked in bad ways. Yes, that alienated a ton of the folks who cared about our work in A Billion Lives, but it was worth it.

The story we captured has the potential to change society forever, seriously. But to do that, we need to make sure it is introduced to people in a compassionate, calm way. This film changes the conversation completely. You need not fear, we still support nicotine vapor technology and Swedish snus as dramatically safer alternatives. The scientific evidence is crystal clear.

However, this movie isn’t about delivery methods. It’s about nicotine, and if you cared about our last film, I think you’ll really enjoy the journey.

What’s next?

On November 20th, we’ll begin launching the film digitally, to all corners of the world. This year has been hard, but we’re looking forward to ending it on a high note.

If you’d like to see the film on opening weekend, simply go and click the orange button under the trailer.

If you would like to hear more about our full release plan, you can watch this video and if you’d like to share the announcement, here are the links:


Thanks, and I look forward to you seeing our newest film!


Aaron Biebert

Director, You Don’t Know Nicotine