COP9 and Its Impact on Vapers

Posted 1st July 2021 by Dave Cross
The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) hosted a webinar looking at the World Health Organization’s Conference of Parties (COP9) to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and its probable impact on vapers. This will be the first time the United Kingdom will be sending a delegation since Brexit and no longer must toe the official European Union line.

As the IEA points out, “the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is an international treaty under the auspices of the WHO dedicated solely to tobacco control. COP is the supreme decision-making body of the FCTC, where all parties to the FCTC meet biennially to review the implementation of the convention and adopt the new guidance.”

The IEA believes that COP9, taking place November 8–13 in The Hague, Netherlands, “poses a significant threat to the United Kingdoms' successful approach to harm reduction policy. The WHO is increasingly, and against the clear evidence, positioning itself as an enemy of vaping. The UK is a world leader in tobacco harm reduction, and a significant reason for this is our comparatively liberal approach to vaping products and e-cigarettes.”

The webinar featured commentary from IEA Director General Mark Littlewood, Matt Ridley (Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Vaping), Christopher Snowdon (IEA’s Head of Lifestyle Economics), and Louis Houlbrooke (NZ Taxpayers Union).

COP9 and Its Impact on Vapers

In 2011, there were around 7 million vapers worldwide. This number has soared to 55 million, with 4 million of those residing in Great Britain – virtually all of them having previously been smokers.


Mark Littlewood asked the experts how they viewed the present harm reduction scene. Matt Ridley spoke about his love of innovation and how the discussion is essentially about harm reduction vs. prohibition.

Beginning by referencing the American prohibition on alcohol, Matt Ridley said: “When you try and ban something that is either addictive or attractive to people it goes underground, it becomes more dangerous, it becomes associated with crime, etc. It seems to me a similar thing is happening in America with respect to vaping.”

In New Zealand,” continued Louis Houlbrooke, “we like to think that things are going to Hell in a handbasket, but then I read Chris Snowdon’s report (1) on what the WHO is actually recommending and now I see things could be so, so much worse.”

Chris Snowdon’s report details how the WHO and FCTC secretariat have called for excessive regulation from the outset, prior to COP9 commencing.

The full discussion can be watched on the embedded video or by visiting the IEA’s YouTube channel here.

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 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, motorbikes, and dog walker