The New Nicotine Alliance in the UK has done a good job of highlighting the threats to harm reduction which could materialise at COP10 in this document. Their call to action lists them as being:
- A ban on all open system vaping products
- A ban of all flavours except tobacco
- A ban on nicotine salts in vaping products
- Regulating products so that they are all exactly the same and restrict delivery of nicotine
- Demanding that countries around the world treat vaping and heated tobacco products the same as combustible tobacco
- Taxation at the same rate as cigarettes, banning use where smoking is prohibited, large graphic health warnings, plain packaging, and a ban on all advertising, promotion and sponsorship
The nature of these may seem far-fetched to the casual reader, so how realistic is it that what seems to be a full-on assault on vaping will make it onto the COP10 agenda?
Copwatch decided to investigate by looking at the make-up of the FCTC Bureau, the body which will be writing the agenda. It would be preferable if they published their November and March meeting minutes so we could read the plans first-hand but, as Copwatch reported previously, it seems their typewriter is still at the repairers.
The Bureau comprises six representatives, one from each of the WHO’s regions, and its role is to make policy proposals which are then circulated to regional coordinators. Surely they will reject the outlandish attacks on vaping and other products contained in WHO reports circulated to the Parties, won’t they?
The five Vice-Presidents come from Uruguay, Netherlands, Australia, Sri Lanka and Oman. Each of their country policies on vaping are listed below:
Uruguay, vaping products are banned.
Sri Lanka, vaping products are banned.
Oman, vaping products are banned.
Australia, vaping products are banned without a prescription (which are hard to come by).
Netherlands, vaping products are allowed but, from July, e-liquid will be restricted to contain just 16 ingredients which make it impossible to form any flavour at all, including tobacco. The Presidency of the Bureau is held by Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) which has no specific law regarding vaping products, though we are sure it will have soon judging by the company its Bureau representative keeps.
We suppose there is a chance that these fine, upstanding, Bureau-crats will take heed of the increasing evidence that vaping is a huge potential prize for public health around the globe and set a sensible agenda for COP10. Probably about the same chance that we at Copwatch have of flying to the moon.