A major UN climate change conference may overshadow an equally important World Health Organization conference where decision-makers are likely to ignore scientific evidence, consigning millions of tobacco smokers to an early death, says the organiser of sCOPe – a virtual broadcasting event.
sCOPe will be simulcast on Facebook and YouTube from 8 to 12 November. It will focus on COP9, the 9th Conference of Parties for the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to be held from 8 November.
“Smoking kills eight million people every year, yet the WHO continues to actively campaign against safer nicotine alternatives such as vaping. Countries attending COP9 must force the WHO to back the evidence,” says Nancy Loucas of CAPHRA (Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates).
Eminent public health social scientist and Emeritus Professor at Imperial College London, Professor Gerry Stimson, says: “As global leaders prepare to make important pledges on climate change under the glare of the media spotlight at COP26, we urge them to demand more from their delegations inside the closed and unscrutinised rooms of COP9… The age of combustion – for tobacco as for fossil fuels – must end.”
A global co-operative effort by Tobacco Harm Reduction consumer organisations, sCOPe will be livestreamed around-the-clock for five days. It will feature leading international THR experts and consumers.
sCOPe panellist and Director of ECST (ENDS Cigarette Smoke Thailand), Asa Saligupta, says the Geneva-based tobacco control conference needs to take a leaf out of Glasgow’s climate change conference book.
“COP26 is all about following climate science and environmental evidence. However, COP9 is set to ignore compelling international science and completely dismiss significant human evidence. Vaping is saving millions of ex-smokers’ lives and can save many more if readily and legally available as an alternative to cigarettes. Safer nicotine products must be embraced, not demonised,” says Mr Saligupta.
Ms Loucas says too much is at stake to let COP9 fly under the radar while its environmental counterpart distracts the world’s attention.
“sCOPe will spotlight the motives and actions of COP9 participants and its ‘Ambassador for Tobacco Control’, American billionaire Michael Bloomberg. Together, they’re on a reckless, misinformed, and misguided crusade against nicotine vaping.
“The WHO, Mr Bloomberg and tobacco control activists should instead listen to smokers and ex-smokers. They need to accept that nicotine vaping is a viable and harm-reducing path to quitting deadly cigarettes. Tar and chemicals in tobacco smoke, not nicotine, are the real killers,” says Ms Loucas.
Consumers are not alone with their concerns that Bloomberg Philanthropies has misused its vast money, resources and influence to attack vaping and fund anti-vaping research and activism in emerging economies.
Academics and experts are now fighting back against the false narrative that vaping is equal to combustible tobacco smoking.
“Michael Bloomberg has done great things for public health, but he is way off-base on this,” says Kenneth Warner, Dean of the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health and former president of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.
“Alarmingly, COP9’s agenda is motivated by their distrust of the tobacco industry and not science. sCOPe will explore this with insights from scientists and, most importantly, through stories of millions of adult consumers,” says Nancy Loucas.
“The false tobacco control narrative, led by the WHO, must be challenged at COP9. Given we’re not allowed inside the conference, sCOPe will ensure vapers have a voice outside,” she says.
sCOPe It will be simulcast on YouTube at https://bit.ly/3aWBPxi and on Facebook from 12.00pm Hong Kong Time on Monday, 8 November.
sCOPe is an international broadcasting event taking place throughout COP9. The five-day livestream, from 8 to 12 November, will feature world-leading THR experts and consumer advocates for safer nicotine products. sCOPe will be simulcast on YouTube and Facebook. Despite being shut out of COP9, vapers have vowed they will not be silenced.
For a free digital media repository on tobacco harm reduction in Asia Pacific – including media releases, images and graphics – please visit https://apthrmedia.org