The COP9 organizers said that any discussions related to alternative tobacco products will be postponed, but evidence indicates otherwise.
Earlier this year, 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. 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. “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).

Loucas has recently 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.

sCOPe: The counter COP9 broadcast

To this effect, a global broadcast hosting (THR) experts and consumer advocates for safer nicotine products, has been announced. The event will be taking place during the same time as the COP9.

“Dubbed ‘sCOPe’, or ‘streaming Consumers On Point everywhere’, the five-day livestream will be simulcast via YouTube and Facebook. Presenters and panellists will challenge and scrutinise COP9 – including who’s influencing and funding its efforts to demonise vaping, and why,” announced a recent press release.

The main organizer of sCOPe, CAPHRA, highlighted that the event is totally independent and non-aligned, organized with the aim of giving a voice to the public. “Before the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers were planning to front up to COP in person and show media our increasing anger for being shut out, once again, from the proceedings. The FCTC’s decision to delay COP9 and host it exclusively online, with no discussions to be publicly released, meant consumers had to take alternative action. Hence, the development of sCOPe,” she said.

“sCOPe is our response to being excluded from the table, as the main stakeholders, of the discussion and decision-making process that directly impacts our health and our right to make informed decisions,” she says.

sCOPe will be simulcast on YouTube at and on Facebook from 12.00pm Hong Kong Time on Monday, 8 November.

Smokers Rights Movement: Fighting for Smokers’ Access to Safer Alternatives

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