Shifting Policy Goals: Challenges in Tobacco Control at COP10 Sessions

The sessions of the Conference of the Parties resumed on the second day with discussions by member states on agenda item 5, the global progress in the implementation of the WHO FCTC, chaired by Ms. Zandile Dhlamini, President of the Conference of the Parties.

Parties shared their progress in the implementation of the WHO FCTC with the Secretariat, with many delegates expressing concerns over emerging new nicotine products. They urged the FCTC to take the lead in pushing for, supporting, and promoting tobacco control policies preventing the uptake of all recreational tobacco and nicotine products, including e-cigarettes, to protect present and future generations from the devastating harms of tobacco.

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids launched The Right to Health Policy Hub to serve as a key human rights resource for CSOs, advocates & others working on public health regulations including tobacco control and food policy.

Global Youth Voices, a movement that represents youth coalitions and organizations from across the globe, demanded that the tobacco industry should be regulated or restricted from associating itself with "harm reduction," "wellness," "sustainability," and "producer responsibility;" more so, it should bear the financial consequences of its myriad harms. They met with Dr Adriana Blanco Marquizo, Head of the Secretariat of the WHO FCTC, in a separate side event, who congratulated them for being 'the Achilles heel of the tobacco industry, which targets children, adolescents & your generation with their products.'

Unfortunately, the COP 10 discourse continued to ignore actual health outcomes and focus only on the process. Fortunately, there was one ray of hope, when the Caribbean nations suggested the establishment of a workgroup on tobacco harm reduction, to study member states where THR had been embraced in regulations, eg UK and NZ. This is a positive development, aligned with Article 1(d) of the FCTC and a necessary, common-sense next step for tobacco control. There is sure to be opposition, but a ray of sunlight nevertheless

Watch the Taxpayers Protection Alliance's recent stream from Panama about consumer participation and how choosing less harmful alternatives has become increasingly difficult as policy goals shift from saving people to ineffective prohibition laws and restrictions.

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