Country delegations to the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) should include at least one consumer of safer nicotine products, according to the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA).
In a letter to their respective countries’ FCTC delegations, CAPHRA member organizations stressed the importance of listening to consumers. “Consumers are an untapped experience and knowledge base who are not represented inclusively in the FCTC process,” the letter states. “Delegates to COP10 should be representing the rights and aspirations of the citizens.”
CAPHRA insists that adults have the right to make choices that help them avoid adverse health outcomes, and people who smoke have the right to access less harmful nicotine products as alternatives to combustible and unsafe tobacco. What’s more, they have the right to participate in the policymaking process that directly impacts their right to health and well-being, the letter notes.
CAPHRA Executive Director Nancy Loucas said that exclusion of consumer voices has contributed to misinformation, disinformation and failures of tobacco control policy.
“Millions have successfully used vaping to move away from combustibles and unsafe oral nicotine products, yet the FCTC looks set to bury its head in the sand again at COP10. CAPHRA believes visiting delegations must include a consumer voice to give at least some balance to all the misinformation,” says Loucas.
COP10 will be held in Panama in November.