Jeannie Cameron is a Public Affairs & Regulatory professional with over 25 years’ experience & is currently CEO of JCIC International, a UK based strategic advocacy consultancy focused on bespoke advice & engagement.
You're going to be presenting on “Will WHO FCTC COP 10 in November be a make-or-break COP for the global nicotine market?” can you give a sneak peek of what people will hear about?
Everyone knows about COP26 of the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) but not many know or care about COP10 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). These two multilateral treaties have steered national policy globally to certain outcomes and on both national implementation is underway. The issue with the FCTC, unlike the FCCC, is that the policy roadmap is created behind closed doors by the WHO FCTC Secretariat, without any expert, scientific, academic, or industry input; and the current views of the WHO on tobacco harm reduction are outdated - it does not accept vaping or any other nicotine alternatives apart from patches and gums (NRT), which is leading to some significant threats and concerns of interest to governments, public health, industry and consumers being proposed at COP10. My talk will outline those threats and what the WHO FCTC secretariat is planning to introduce at COP10 covering initiatives relating to vaping, heated tobacco and smokeless products. I plan to raise awareness of the clear and present danger that the WHO is seeking to have passed at COP10 and if so it will have a significant negative impact on tobacco harm reduction, the industry and ultimately consumers and public health.
Why is COP10 so important to this industry and its future?
International law works very slowly, as what passes at the international multilateral level at a Conference of the Parties (COP) takes sometimes years to trickle down into national regulation so it’s important that any proposals put forward at COP10 are based on solid science and evidence, but at present they look like they are not. If proposals counterproductive to harm reduction are put forward and accepted, then there is a mandate decision to push toward national implementation of them. As this is a meeting of governments discussing and negotiating on proposals that the WHO FCTC Secretariat has drafted, it requires governments to push back on areas where they do not believe the measures are in line with national policy. It is therefore incumbent upon the industry, consumers, public health and the science community to ensure that the national delegations to COP10 include well briefed delegations, or include harm reduction experts, so that the decisions at the COP to regulate novel nicotine products are based on sound science and evidence. It’s very important to the industry to understand the processes and how they can have a voice in those processes otherwise decisions will be taken that impact their future in a vacuum.
What are some of the advantages of tobacco harm reduction?
Tobacco harm reduction is very important as it recognises that providing people with less harmful ways to take nicotine than by smoking it is pragmatic. The need to protect people from exposure to tobacco smoke is part of the bedrock of the FCTC. The treaty negotiators used “smoke” throughout the document as the source of harm from smoking – nicotine is not mentioned in the FCTC apart from being dependence forming, but unlike smoke which contains over 7,000 harmful toxicants, nicotine itself is not harmful. Understanding this is fundamental and the FCTC negotiators knew this and included “tobacco harm reduction” as one of the 3 measures, along with demand reduction and supply reduction measures, to reduce the harm from smoking tobacco. The advantage is that a tobacco harm reduction approach recognises that reducing the harm is more important to public health than having people continue to smoke by not being able to give up easily.
Why do you feel it is important for people to attend ENDS Europe this year?
The ENDS conference this year is vitally important for a delegate to understand the current status of the industry, its regulation and concerns so that relevant business decisions can be made. The various speakers are experts in their field and attendance can bring people up to speed on the various issues such as regulation, recycling, the science of nicotine and trends occurring. The speakers at the event are leading in their fields and it offers an opportunity for delegates to network and talk about specific issues of interest.