Three leading tobacco harm reduction experts join us to give their predictions, hopes and fears for the Tenth Conference of the Parties of the FCTC, which was due to take place on 20 November 2023 before being postponed at the eleventh hour.
Chapters:0:00 - Intro with Joanna Junak 0:57 - Jeannie Cameron gives her thoughts on COP10 1:55 - Clive Bates gives his COP10 predictions 3:17 - Jeffrey Zamora's message for consumers
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Joanna Junak: Hello and welcome. I'm Joanna Junak and this is GFN News on GFN.TV. Decisions made at the Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control have a significant influence on the future of safer nicotine products, which play a key role in tobacco harm reduction. The 10th COP session was supposed to start next week in Panama. However, we have recently learned that it will be postponed until next year. Before the surprising decision of postponing the meeting, we have asked several experts their thoughts regarding the Convention. Their answers are still valid. Therefore, let's hear what they have said. Jeannie Cameron, expert on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, explains to us how the Treaty has stood up to the test of time.
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Jeannie Cameron: Treaties have three measures of effectiveness. Firstly, has it legally, internationally been implemented? And yes, for the FCTC. Secondly, has its measures been nationally transposed into laws and regulations? Yes, again, for the FCTC. But thirdly, has it achieved its objective? And on that, I would say no, because it has not reduced smoking globally. So has it stood the test of time? Yes, because it contains and it continues to contain requirements to implement harm reduction measures. But no, it has not stood the test of time in terms of national interpretation and implementation of its tobacco harm reduction measures.
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Joanna Junak: We have also asked Clive Bates, a leading tobacco control policy expert, about his expectations for COP10.
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Clive Bates: Well, I'm afraid I think COP10 will be another assault on harm reduction, on the smoke-free products, the alternatives to smoking, for no good reason other than ideology. I expect to see WHO and the COP promoting general prohibitions of vape products, heated tobacco products, pouches and so on. I expect them to try to create parity in regulation between cigarettes and smoke-free products, even though the risks are gigantically different and the smoke-free products can substitute for much more dangerous smoking habits. I expect them to try other measures that will just degrade the experience. So, for example, bans on flavours, all kinds of, you know, limits on nicotine and things like that. It's all that agenda. It sees the new products and the alternatives to smoking as a threat, not an opportunity. And in doing so, it's making a massive strategic error and working against the agenda that it should have, which is dealing with disease and premature death.
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Joanna Junak: Why should consumers be listened to at COP10? We have posed this question to Jeffrey Zamora, president of AsoVape Costa Rica, as he's the expert in the area of consumer advocacy.
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Jeffrey Zamora: Consumers should be listening during the COP sessions and everything regarding the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control because they're one of the legitimate stakeholders in this debate. It is important to hear all the parties involved to make an informed decision. And as we have seen in some other instances, for example, during the United Nations 54 meeting of the Commissioner of Human Rights report of human rights and the use of drugs, people have the right or there are universal rights, for example, the right to health, which actually intrinsicates directly with harm reduction for trial, no discrimination and equality. So based on those particular principles, consumers need to be heard as a valid stakeholder in this discussion. We have seen that in some other areas, for example, on regulation of drugs and illegal substances, people that are consumers of these products or these substances are invited to be participating in the regulation of how the policies are being implemented. So we need to have a voice. We deserve to have a voice and it's our right to have a voice during this kind of sessions.