The propaganda assault on safer nicotine products and those who advocate for them is at fever pitch. Bloomberg has poured a lot of money – ‘Bloombucks’ – into attacking tobacco harm reduction and journalists for hire are working overtime to smear anyone who speaks up for it. This media manipulation will be familiar to advocates but still raises eyebrows – it’s arrant hypocrisy when the Bloomberg funded media attacks advocates for perceived conflicts of interest.
Read on for more COP10 news since our last update.
BAN BAN BAN! 🔨
WHO is going further than ever in recommending that countries ban safer alternatives to smoking. A press release published on 14 December recommends that:
‘Any government pursuing a smoking cessation strategy using e-cigarettes should control the conditions under which the products are accessed to ensure appropriate clinical conditions and regulate the products as medicines’
Vapes are effective because they are consumer products; that is fundamental to their success in helping people to quit smoking. We don’t know of any medicinally licensed vaping products. So WHO is now calling for countries who have legalised vapes to ban them.
Check out too what Rüdiger Krech, WHO’s Director for Health Promotion said on 16 January in a press briefing – watch here from 22.50 in:
And, TikTok has this video with Krech saying it’s good news that 1.25 billion people still smoke. The quiet bit said out loud?
Happily, some of WHO’s disinformation is being challenged, at least one of their tweets has earned a Community Note.
More trouble in Panama over the $5million hosting of COP10 🍿
Not only is there dissatisfaction over the Panama government spending $5million on the contract, a complaint has been filed over how the contract was awarded. It has been revealed that the contract was not put out to tender and there is now an official complaint. Read more on these links:
Cuestionan contrato directo de $5 millones para eventos sobre tabaco (They question a $5 million direct contract for tobacco events – Google translate)
Panamá no sale de un escándalo para caer en otro (Panama does not emerge from one scandal to fall into another – Google translate)
We have reported several times on the controversies surrounding Panama’s hosting of COP10, see our COP10 articles list if you are interested in reading more.
And, Panama’s Ministry of Health (MINSA) recently put out a press release stating that ‘delegates from 183 countries are expected, with about 1,900 people (1,200 for the COP and 700 for the MOP)’.
Back to Bloomberg – do check out the participants list, published after the de minimis session. There’ll be a big Copwatch thumbs up👍🏽for anyone who can identify how many of the Observers are funded by Bloomberg – we can see it’s a lot but we don’t have time to research the full list. In contrast, not one organisation which speaks on behalf of people who use nicotine has been granted observer status. And, we are hearing that applications from the general public to attend the COP open sessions are being rejected, including from tobacco growers in Brazil:
‘In October, the Minister of Agriculture, Carlow Fávaro (PSD), had confirmed to parliamentarians that the Brazilian government would grant access to the event to representatives of the population. However, those who registered on the official website of the World Health Organization had their application rejected without official justification’. (Google translate)
See: Deputies are denied registrations for COP10: “We need a voice in decisions”
What makes it even worse is that WHO is evidently familiar with the concept that those most affected should be involved in decisions which affect them. In 2021 they produced a manual entitled ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ #NoExcuse
Information kit for delegates
The Secretariat has produced this information kit for delegates: https://fctc.who.int/publications/i/item/information-kit-for-delegates-to-the-conference-of-the-parties-to-the-who-framework-convention-on-tobacco-control
Delegates should also read our Alternative reading list for #COP10 delegates
And, we’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that Copwatch has delved into lots of the COP10 official documents over the past few months, check out our article list here:
COPWATCH #COP10 articles
UK Parliament debate
All MPs speaking called for a minister to attend as part of the UK COP delegation. Many MPs were concerned that the UK COP delegation might agree with policies which contradict domestic ones.
“In Panama, I want to hear the Minister using their power and the UK’s authority to stand up for solutions that work. I want the Government to stand by these arguments. NHS policy papers, the Khan review and ASH show that allowing people to make smaller changes leads to longer-term change. If we use our position as one of the FCTC’s largest financial contributors, our voice should be heard. I urge the Government to lead, and the Minister for Primary Care and Public Health to join COP10 as part of our delegation.”
Virendra Sharma MP
For more see: Sticking to its Guns, Tobacco Reporter
Media is warned off COPWATCH
It was brought to our attention that COPWATCH was mentioned in the ‘Media workshop in lead up to global tobacco treaty intergovernmental negotiations (COP10/MOP3)’, held on 23 January. Apparently it was said that although there is no proof that the tobacco industry funds us, it is strange that we go along with what the tobacco industry is doing.
We would like to put the record straight. No one funds COPWATCH. We are part of the proud global movement of grass roots consumers advocating for people who smoke to have access to products which can improve their lives. That movement has had many successes worldwide in resisting over regulation which would take life saving products away from the people who need them. We have been advocating for safer nicotine products for a long time, long before any of the tobacco industry. In fact, some of the tobacco industry is just saying what we said first. And, by no means is all of the industry pro tobacco harm reduction – just look at China Tobacco.
That’s all for now. We’ll leave you with some reading – an excellent letter from the Association of Vapers India, calling upon their delegation to use COP to learn from the positive experiences of nations which are open to tobacco harm reduction: