Sadly vapers and tobacco harm reduction experts have year after year been completely left out of a topic that concerns them more than anyone else.
In 2021, FCTC organizers had announced that there would be no discussions or decisions around Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) products at COP9. They had highlighted 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’, would be postponed until 2023’s COP10.

To this effect, last year, the Executive Coordinator of CAPHRA (Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates) Nancy Loucas, mentioned the importance of this year’s event. “Countries represented at COP10 need to fully understand that millions of lives depend on delegates’ substantive discussions and subsequent recommendations on safer nicotine products next year. The red light must turn green – it’s long overdue.”

Finally the time has come, the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control will be held this November in Panama. Sadly, vapers and tobacco harm reduction experts worldwide are aware that as in previous years, most likely nothing positive will come out of this meeting, as a several thousand unaccountable bureaucrats will be discussing a topic that they will be fully left out of.

“This exclusion of the consumer voice has been one of the main reasons for the misinformation, disinformation and failures of current tobacco control policy around nicotine – including vaping, snus and heated tobacco products,” says CAPHRA executive co-ordinator Nancy Loucas.

The FCTC is being undemocratic

In light of this, CAPHRA members are urging their respective country’s delegates attending the event to at least include one consumer. This is not the first time members of CAPHRA have written to governments sending delegates to 2023. “Consumers are an untapped experience and knowledgebase who are not represented inclusively in the FCTC process… Delegates to COP10 should be representing the rights and aspirations of the citizens,” the latest letter outlines.

The letter also reminds the FCTC that adults have the right to have access to safer nicotine products and also to make their own choices. “As you are undoubtedly aware, the FCTC has a mandate to pursue Harm Reduction. While everyone agrees on the desirability of getting all consumers to stop smoking, arguments concerning means to achieve this have been divisive and, in many cases, complicated, often with deliberate misinformation,” adds the letter.

Loucas highlighted that the FCTC is not only being undemocratic but it is also ignoring the science on the topic. “Not only does the FCTC choose to ignore growing international science, it bans from the table the very voice of those who utilise these products to switch away from the deadly forms of tobacco.”

Case Studies: Countries Applying WHO Guidelines Have Higher Smoking Rates

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