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Philippines Swims Alone At COP9

The Philippines delegation was the only one to stand tall and demand nations should focus on genuine evidence in policy formation

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The Philippines delegation was the only one to stand tall and demand nations should focus on genuine evidence in policy formation. It was immediately accused of being an outlier and in thrall to the tobacco industry – by nations that own their own state-controlled tobacco monopolies.

Prior to the event, The British Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines suggested that the Pinoy government considered the United Kingdom’s successful tobacco harm reduction approach.

British Chamber of Commerce executive director Chris Nelson wrote to the Philippines Department of Trade and Industry citing the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Vaping Inquiry report which said delegates should promote “risk proportionate” and “evidence-based regulation”.

Nelson’s letter stated: “We humbly agree with said report that the FCTC should thoroughly be updated to reflect the positive public health opportunity from low-risk nicotine products and any decision by the FCTC that would unduly restrict adult use of vaping and reduced risk nicotine delivery systems must be rejected.

“It is best if the delegates of the state parties are physically present and are given sufficient time to discuss these issues to reach a consensus given the far-reaching consequences of the decisions taken at the COP. The need for proper examination, deliberation, and debate for complex and sensitive international policies is aligned with a report from United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for Vaping Inquiry.”

Nelson added that the Philippines Department of Trade and Industry needed “to take the lead in writing the Philippine position for the said conference and that this considers the vapor product industry’s concerns given that the issues to be discussed are primarily trade-related.

The letter paid off.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin spoke to delegates during the opening of COP9 and asked them to consider “the evolving and latest scientific information.” He also noted that despite being bad for public health, tobacco sales are “also a source of good through taxation.”

Tobacco tax laws fund our poverty reduction, Universal Health Care, and COVID-19 recovery programs They underscore the importance of tobacco use and funding of the state’s most important activities.”

He said there could be “no extinction by extreme taxation.”

Bans would only drive operators underground and substitute smuggling. That would further enrich countries that have made tobacco a state monopoly. Why would we allow that?

Locsin was the only person to demand consumer inclusion in the debate: “These complex and challenging issues demand active participation of all parties and inclusive consultations with all stakeholders, and we mean all.”

Finally, he spoke about the role vaping plays in reducing tobacco related harm. He stated ecigs pose less harm yet still generate income from taxation.

Locsin’s words prompted immediate bullying from FCTC officials and other delegates, prompting the Philippines Department of Health to state that his speech gave “undue recognition to tobacco industries, including those of vapor products and heated tobacco products, is harmful.

Photo Credit:

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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