OP-ED
COP9 AND VAPERS
BY: MARIA PAPAIOANNOY, RIGHTS4VAPERS
NOVEMBER 9, 2021


This week marks the start of the Ninth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the World
Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control – or COP9. It’s a mouthful
and most people have no idea that it is happening.


However, Canadian vapers should be concerned and aware that a very exclusive club of tobacco
control advocates are deciding on policies that could impact how vaping is regulated in Canada.
It is hardly democratic or transparent.


COP9 has a notorious reputation for secrecy. If you have any ties to the vaping industry or even
if you support vapour products as a harm reduction tool, then the doors are closed. The global
elites behind this meeting would like you to believe this is a serious tobacco control meeting for
serious health people only. Vapers need not apply.


It is so secretive that we do not even know for certain who Canada’s delegates are.
This, even though vapour products are potentially the best way for smokers to stop smoking.
Isn’t that what tobacco control is all about?


Harm reduction should be a pillar of all discussions at the COP9. Sadly, this seems far from the
case. The delegates at COP9 do not seem to believe that smokers should be encouraged to
switch to less harmful alternatives.


It is unreasonable to think that any organization could implement a global policy on how vapour
products are regulated. Each country should be free to make their own choices. However,
Canada is woefully behind the pack. Our own Health Canada has spent the last three years
putting up barriers to vaping products. In their most recent regulatory proposal to limit flavours
to tobacco, mint and menthol, Health Canada acknowledges that, if these regulations pass,
many vapers will go back to smoking. This cannot be in the mandate of a national health
agency.


This being said the FCTC could use its power to rally national government to implement policies
that will move true harm reduction forward. The FCTC should be showing leadership in this
area.


Unnecessary restrictions like nicotine caps and flavour bans, which are implemented under the
guise of protecting children will only limit choices for smokers, force vapers back to smoking
and push sales to the illegal market.


The Canadian delegation (whoever they are) have the opportunity to stand up and call for other
delegations to embrace harm reduction, set a new course for smokers around the world, and
demonstrate that vaping products can help government achieve their tobacco control
strategies.


Instead, we are left to guess what’s happening and cross our fingers that common sense will
prevail.