COP10 Opens in Panama: Urgent Action on Tobacco Control

Delegates worldwide gathered in Panama City on Monday to open the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the WHO FCTC. This is the first in-person COP since 2018, with earlier meetings held remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Day 1, the agenda was adopted, and Article 18 (protecting people and the environment from the harms of tobacco cultivation) was added to the agenda for deliberations.

Dr Adriana Blanco Marquizo, Head of the Secretariat of the WHO FCTC welcomed attendees and warned of the increasing availability of novel and emerging nicotine and tobacco products.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, emphasized the need to continue advocating for the urgent and accelerated implementation of the convention, as well as be careful of the tobacco industry's tactics, especially in the low and middle-income countries. "I am committed to using the full force of the convention to promote health, keep the world safe & serve the vulnerable" he added.

Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP, spoke onhow tobacco is a contributor to the triple planetary crisis and has major environmental impacts along the entire lifecycle. "We all know that tobacco has major environmental impacts along the entire lifecycle. 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are discarded & those break down into microplastics. Tobacco is a contributor to the triple planetary crisis."

Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, PAHO/WHO Director, also spoke on how the tobacco industry and its allies continually market their products aggressively through 'campaigns that disseminate misleading information on emerging products such as e-cigarettes.' He congratulated countries (including the host country Panama) for banning the commercialization of emerging nicotine products and urged countries that haven't done so to strongly consider banning the advertising of these products.

COP10 runs until Saturday 10 February, and discussions will include Discussions at COP10 will include implementation of Articles 9 and 10 of the WHO FCTC (Regulation of contents and disclosure of tobacco products): reports by the Bureau, by the expert Group, and by WHO as well as Novel and emerging tobacco products.

The Taxpayer's Protection Alliance seeks to provide a voice for and to consumers and stakeholders while COP10 convenes in secrecy from the public. Watch their latest video stream HERE for more information on how events transpire at COP10 this week.

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