I have written previously how the WHO (World Health Organisation) COP10 (Conference Of the Parties 10) is a big threat to vaping worldwide.
The conference will be discussing the FCTC (Framework Convention on Tobacco Control) and in my previous article I covered some of the possible threats.
Anyway there has been an update and the threats are more real!
What Is New
The WHO Study group on Tobacco (TobReg) have produced some new recommendations for tobacco control. These are used by the FCTC to help form tobacco control regulations.
TobReg are a scientific evaluation group who produce reports to be circulated around all the delegates from each country attending the COP10.
This is the first set of recommendations released for the TobReg 9 report which could then form the agenda for the COP10 FCTC. There will be more to come prior to release of TobReg 9 at the end of June 2023.
You can read the recommendations here – scroll down to the Tobacco Product Regulation section.
Previous TobReg reports basically tried to convince all COP attendees that vaping is bad. Trying to influence them to agree to various bans. I quote…
“The outcomes of the Study Group’s deliberations and main recommendations will improve Member States’ understanding of conventional and newer products and the promotional strategies employed by manufacturers. The report’s contribution to the body of knowledge on regulating non therapeutic nicotine and tobacco products will play a critical role in informing the work of the Secretariat, especially in providing technical support to Member States.”
Also other alternative Nicotine products have been targeted such as Nicotine Pouches.
If all parties agree to proposals at the COP10 summit, these proposals will become legal. All participating countries will then need to enact these as law. The UK and Ireland are part of this and it could affect vapers and smokers here too despite the positive view of vaping of the UK government.
However if a few countries do not accept the proposals then a “consensus” cannot be reached and the policies are not put into place. They therefore may be revised ready for the next COP meeting.
Hence why it looks like WHO are trying to persuade delegates that their positive view of vaping is wrong.
Tobago Latest Recommendations
One of the main issues with this paper to me is the fact that Tobacco products are squeezed together with Nicotine products – non combustibles such as vapes and pouches. Which as we know have far less risk than smoking.
A few points that caught the eye of me and Martin Cullip (International Fellow of the Taxpayers Alliance Consumer Centre) are listed below…
“to ensure that regulations of tobacco products are extended and applied to all forms of
nicotine and tobacco products and not restricted to conventional cigarettes”
“to regulate non-therapeutic nicotine products in the same manner as products to which they are similar in appearance, content and use; “
Some of the wording is quite ambiguous for instance
“applied to all forms of nicotine and tobacco products and not restricted to conventional cigarettes”
so this appears to encompass vaping and other nicotine products.
However other parts specifically mention Tobacco – so I am unsure if other non combustible products are included here.
I also find it amusing how the paper urges a focus on “Evidence based measures” in the quote below…
“noting the aggressive promotion of both tobacco and nicotine products globally, the Study Group urged Member States to ensure a continuing focus on evidence-based measures to reduce tobacco use as outlined in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and not to be distracted by the tobacco industry or other vested interests”
Particularly ironic considering many of the studies proving alternative nicotine products are far safer than combustible tobacco are ignored by the WHO on a regular basis!
I believe “Non therapeutic Nicotine products” would cover methods of obtaining nicotine which are not classed as NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy – i.e. patches, inhalators etc).
WHO recommend NRT as a method to help smokers quit. In fact the list of Essential Medicines published by the WHO also includes the medications Bupropion (Zyban) and Varenicline (Champix). Two medications which for me personally and many others gives horrific side effects.
It also looks like they want flavours – including Menthol and coolants to be banned…
“to ban the addition of menthol and other ingredients that facilitate inhalation in non-therapeutic nicotine products and all tobacco products. The ban should include synthetic coolant chemicals with a chemical structure or physiological and sensory effects similar to those of menthol;”
“to ensure that nicotine pouches are not classified as pharmaceutical products unless they are proven to be nicotine replacement therapies by following the stringent pharmaceutical pathways for licensing as nicotine replacement therapies, as prescribed by the appropriate national regulatory authority;”
Visit the article on the NNA website for more details – “Call To Action – The World Health Organisation is planning a global assault on vaping”.
Also the GSHTR have produced a briefing paper to help understand what the COP10 FCTC is all about.
A live-stream was created on World Vape Day (30th May 2023) with representatives Nancy Loucas (CAPRA) and Martin Cullip (TPA). Martin explains more about COP10 and TobReg.
I have to thank Martin for his help with this article explaining what has been happening.
How Can You Get Involved
·Write to your MP and express your objections to these threats. You can find out who your MP is and their contact details on the UK parliament website. Also you can use the website Writetothem to compose your message.
“Tell them why the products are so important and why WHO threats must be resisted. Ask them to pass on your concerns to the government and insist the UK stands up for vaping and other non-combustible nicotine alternatives to smoking. The UK delegates may or may not have been selected already but ask your MP to enquire who is on the delegation so you can write to them.”
·Write to the FCTC focal point person in your country. This will be the person who passes information between the FCTC Bureau and the Government. The focal point for the UK can be contacted here email@example.com. For those outside of the UK this link will tell you who is your focal point.
“Tell the focal point that you wish to know what current plans are being communicated from the FCTC Bureau to the UK government and vice versa. Ask them for updates, meeting minutes and other information about the COP10 process.”
·Tell your story in a polite but persistent way. Share your story of how vaping helped you quit smoking, emphasise the type of equipment and flavours which made your quit journey a success.
·I suggest you mention that it scares you how this important tool in your non smoking journey could be at risk.
·Also emphasise how vaping will play a huge part in meeting “Smoke Free” goals.
·Share your messages and letters with the NNA.
·Also share on social media any posts regarding the campaign!