Knowledge Action Change (KAC) has published a briefing to help policymakers, health officials and consumers better understand the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The 10th edition of this event, which normally takes place every two years, is scheduled for November in Panama.
While decisions made at the conference are likely to significantly impact tobacco companies and their customers, industry representatives and organizations advocating for access to safer nicotine products have traditionally been barred from attending the event.
As a result, tobacco harm reduction has been getting short rift at COP meetings despite the fact that the concept is an integral part of the FCTC.
“Harm reduction is explicitly named as one of three tobacco control strategies in the opening lines of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, but at present, the indications are that COP10 is unlikely to result in any decisions that support consumer access to safer nicotine products,” said KAC Director Gerry Stimson in a statement.
“Parties to the FCTC must seize the opportunity in Panama to consider evidence from countries where tobacco harm reduction is saving lives, including the U.K., New Zealand, Sweden, Norway and Japan—and ask why the WHO and its influential philanthropic funders are refusing to do the same.
“With no media present, FCTC COP meetings are shrouded in a secrecy more akin to a U.N. Security Council meeting—and in direct contrast to other COP meetings, for example those on climate change. This briefing paper gives policymakers, health officials and consumers more insight into the processes of COP10 and the opportunity to engage more fully prior to and during the event in Panama,” said Stimson