“The Bureau decided that the reports prepared by WHO (Comprehensive report on research and evidence on novel and emerging tobacco products, contained in document FCTC/COP/9/9) and by the Convention Secretariat (Challenges posed by and classification of novel and emerging tobacco products, contained in document FCTC/COP/9/10), should be presented for information and that related substantive discussions should be deferred to COP10 [in 2023],” read the provisional agenda.
Commenting on this delay, Executive Coordinator the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA) Nancy Loucas had explained why she believes that that discussions and decisions on safer nicotine alternatives will actually still be taking place at COP9, behind closed doors. “It’s now clear, however, that was a complete pretence aimed at minimizing a growing backlash against the WHO’s anti-vaping agenda,” said Loucas.
She has recently highlighted 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 which took place prior to the main event. CAPHRA had obtained the 27 September to 1 October agenda for the WHO’s Western Pacific Region Organization, which stated that the meeting was in ‘preparation for The Ninth Conference of the Parties’, and would 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, had been announced. The event is being held currently, in parallel with 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.”
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 is being currently simulcast on YouTube at https://bit.ly/3aWBPxiand on Facebook as of 12.00pm Hong Kong Time on Monday, 8 November.