COP9 organisers had announced there would be no discussions or decisions around Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) products at COP9, but evidence indicates otherwise.
In a 2018 press release, Public Health England (PHE) had released findings from a major e-cigarette review conducted by leading independent tobacco experts. This release had updated the organization’s original 2015 vaping report, confirming that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking.

Similarly, the PHE’s seventh and latest independent report on vaping released this year, has reiterated that vaping is the most commonly used method to quit smoking. By endorsing the use of vaping products, the UK has in recent years achieved the lowest smoking rates ever recorded since cigarettes came into existence. In fact to date, there are countless peer reviewed scientific studies indicating the effectiveness of safer nicotine alternatives such as e-cigarettes and snus, as harm reduction and/or smoking cessation tools.

Meanwhile months ago, COP9 organisers had announced that there would be no discussions or decisions around Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) products at COP9, and that these would be delayed until COP10 in 2023. “It’s now clear, however, that was a complete pretence aimed at minimizing a growing backlash against the WHO’s anti-vaping agenda,” says Nancy Loucas, Executive Coordinator the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA).

The organizers said that any related documents should still be submitted for information to COP9. However, any substantive discussions related to ‘smokeless tobacco and heated tobacco products’ and ‘novel and emerging tobacco products’, will be postponed. Commenting on this, Loucas said she believes that that discussions and decisions on safer nicotine alternatives will still be taking place at COP9.

“Trickery at its finest”

CAPHRA describes these actions “trickery at its finest.” “Because such matters aren’t supposedly being actively discussed, outsiders like vape advocates, can’t make submissions. That means a tonne of negativity cannot be appended to COP9’s final report for member countries to view. Yet, the likes of anti-vaping papers will still be included as information items, which of course will conveniently endorse the WHO’s poisoned position,” explained Loucas.

She highlights that for further proof that discussions and decisions on safer nicotine alternatives will indeed feature at COP9, one just needs to take a look at the WHO’s regional meetings taking place prior. CAPHRA has obtained the 27 September to 1 October agenda for the WHO’s Western Pacific Region Organization, which states that the meeting is in ‘preparation for The Ninth Conference of the Parties’, will include ‘scientific updates on emerging tobacco and tobacco-like products, and nicotine products’, their regulation, and a panel discussion on countries’ regulatory experiences.

“The manipulation is well underway to ensure safer products such as nicotine vaping are well and truly demonized at COP9. Just because it has been disguised as a deferral, don’t let the WHO tell you it’s not on the agenda this year. They’re playing these silly games only because they’re increasingly running scared, knowing the world is waking up to the WHO’s anti-vape crusade driven by money not science,” highlighted Loucas.

UK MPs call on their government to stop funding the WHO

Echoing her sentiments, earlier this year angered members of the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) called onto their government to stop funding the WHO unless it stops acting with hostility with regards to vaping. The cross-party committee underlined the WHO’s inaccurate insistence that vaping is as dangerous as smoking, despite the scientific data indicating the contrary.

Case Studies: Countries Applying WHO Guidelines Have Higher Smoking Rates

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In-house journalist covering international vaping news.