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COPWATCH is a new website written and published by consumers of safer nicotine products that will provide information and track activity at the WHO’s COP9 event

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COPWATCH is a new website written and published by consumers of safer nicotine products that will provide information and track activity at the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Conference of Parties (COP9) event. The website offers useful FCTC COP explainer articles, a library of links and information about campaigns. During this week’s COP 9 (8-13 November) there are plans for COP LIVE articles.

COPWATCH’s authors write that: “We are dismayed at the lack of transparency around the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and the Conference of Parties and at WHO’s efforts to deny smokers access to lifesaving ‘novel’ products such as vapes, heated tobacco products and snus. The aim of this website is to demystify the workings of FCTC and COP.”

COP 9 began on Monday and will run for the full week. Unlike the environmental COP26 that took place physically in Glasgow, COP9 is an online event with participants around the world attending virtually.

Despite a commitment to transparency, COP9 is not something anyone can witness.

COP is shrouded in secrecy. Most of the public will be unaware that COP9 will be taking place or even what it is, COP9 discussions will not be broadcast online and the public are barred from even observing,” writes COPWATCH.

In the last decade no consumer group representing smokers or users of safer nicotine products has been admitted as an observer to FCTC’s COP. Regrettably, it looks as though consumers will stay unrepresented at COP9 too, as the Bureau has recommended that THR consumer groups INNCO and NNA UK applications for observer status are rejected.”

COPWATCH continues: "The Secretariat has recommended that several issues are deferred for discussion until COP10, in two years’ time. However, this is only a recommendation and only one party would need to ask for discussion at COP9, for that discussion to take place.

“Some of the reports relating to tobacco harm reduction betray a heavy bias against safer alternatives to smoking.”

As well as delivering ongoing commentary and analysis, COPWATCH is also covering the protest activities taking place around the world such as Italy’s electric candles.

Italian consumer group ANESVAP have been asking vapers to send pictures of them with an LED candle to its Twitter account. The LED candles don’t have a wick so there is no combustion, representing the role of vape technology in reducing the harm from smoking.

COPWATCH also offers up suggestions to vapers who want to get involved on social media:

  • Use hashtags as part of your message rather than putting them all at the end of your tweets - although this can be a useful way of getting picked up across multiple hashtag searches sometimes
  • Tag important stakeholders to avoid the echo chamber. It means that there is a better chance that key players, or those in their circle will pick up the THR message
  • Please don't spam individuals or organisations with multiple messages in a short space of time - we know tobacco control folks can be sensitive and fast with the block button, and that helps no one
  • We can be critical while keeping messages polite and courteous. We have an abundance of evidence to make our points so let's use it


Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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