Watch: Denmark’s “Vaping Evangelist” Tells His Story

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    When I interviewed Kim Dabelstein Petersen in the back of an empty midtown-Manhattan coffee shop, he had just attended a meeting at the United Nations (with Dr. Riccardo Polosa, a leading tobacco harm reduction researcher from Italy).

    Dabelstein Peterson is one of Denmark’s leading THR advocates. Our conversation a few years back also revealed him as a warm, no-nonsense, person who desperately wants everyone who smokes to have access to safer nicotine products. He calls himself a “vaping evangelist.”

    To that end, he’s the IT director and acting CFO of the International Network of Nicotine Consumers Organizations (INNCO), a nonprofit alliance of 32 independent, volunteer-led member organizations worldwide. Their motto is shared by many harm reductionists: “Nothing about us without us.”

    In the video above, Dabelstein Peterson shares his own quitting story. He discusses “the four cigarettes that are the most difficult to drop,” including “the one that people usually don’t talk about.”

    One part of his story has always stuck with me.

    He also addresses the creation of INNCO, mission creep in tobacco control and the consumer-driven revolution that “may eradicate smoking.”

    One part of his story has always stuck with me. Kim had gotten used to spending a lot of time shut up in his office, the one designated smoking space in his home. Smoking can isolate a person from friends and family who disapprove or don’t want to be exposed to secondhand smoke.

    When he quit cigarettes thanks to vapes, he realized, “My children got their father back and my wife got her husband back.”

    Vaping, among many benefits, has the power to bring loved ones back together. 



    Both INNCO and the Center of Excellence for the Acceleration of Harm Reduction (founded by Dr. Polosa) have received grants from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. The Influence Foundation, which operates Filter, has also received grants from FSFW. 

    • Helen is Filter‘s senior editor and a multimedia journalist. She is on the methadone, vaping and nicotine train. Helen is also a filmmaker. Her two documentaries about methadone are Liquid Handcuffs and Swallow THIS. As an LCSW, she has worked with people who use drugs for over two decades. Helen is an adjunct assistant professor and teaches a course about the War on Drugs at NYU. She lives in Harlem.

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