Conference of the Parties on Tobacco Control: decisions on the environment, advertising and human rights

10Thursday The Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control concluded on 10 February 2024 with several major decisions. The article on environmental protection is strengthened and better integrates the issue of plastic cigarette filters. Guidelines for cross-border advertising, promotion and sponsorship are also strengthened and the link to human rights is underlined. The “fundamental and irreconcilable” conflict with the tobacco industry is reaffirmed.

Despite attempts by the tobacco industry to divert, Labor 10Thursday The Conference of the Parties (COP10) of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) could be successfully concluded. 142 parties gathered in Panama City from 5 to 10 February 2024 to participate in this COP10. The COP convenes every two years and ensures the implementation, effectiveness and adaptation of the FCTC.

As the theme of the next World No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2024, was protecting children from the interference of the tobacco industry, numerous youth delegations were welcomed during this COP10.

Significant progress in the fight against tobacco

Several decisions taken during COP10 represent significant progress in the fight against tobacco(1):

  • Article 18, which aims to protect the environment from the consequences of the production, consumption and disposal of tobacco products, is strengthened. Plastic cigarette filters should be better taken into account and soon be included in the international treaty on plastic pollution.
  • A more precise inclusion of the phenomenon of promotional advertising and cross-border sponsorship, which has developed significantly in recent years thanks to the development of new technologies, complements the guidelines for the application of Article 13. The question of the depiction of smoking in films and the media is taken into account in particular.
  • Article 2.1, which empowers parties to adopt additional anti-tobacco measures beyond the provisions of the treaty, is incorporated into tobacco reduction strategies; an expert group was established with this in mind.
  • Article 19, which deals with the criminal and civil liability of tobacco manufacturers, will also be the subject of the work and recommendations of the expert group in support of the parties.
  • The Panama Declaration reiterates that there is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the interests of the tobacco industry and public health objectives. It reaffirms the need for strict application of Article 5.3, which requires public policies not to be influenced by the tobacco industry.
  • The Global Strategy for Accelerating Tobacco Control 2019-2025 is renewed for five years. It can thus align with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • Parties are encouraged to include their progress on tobacco control in their reports on the implementation of the human rights conventions they have ratified, with the aim of highlighting the link between the two topics(2).
  • The reports of the Parties discussing each country’s tobacco control progress will be revised for greater effectiveness.
  • The FCTC investment fund was also strengthened.

Attempts at interventions by the tobacco industry

The tobacco industry failed, as it wanted, to block the decision during this COP session on the topic of its new products, promoted as reduced risk products(3). Debates on these new products were postponed until COP11.

For several months now, multinational tobacco companies and their allies have been preparing a massive offensive against the World Health Organization (WHO) to neutralize the COP10 FCTC(4). Repeated requests from manufacturers to be considered partners were again denied. Around COP 10, there were a number of events organized by manufacturers that condemned its lack of transparency(5).

The tobacco industry’s insistence can be explained by the progress made in the fight against tobacco over the past twenty years. The implementation of the provisions contained in the FCTC has indeed contributed to a significant reduction in tobacco consumption worldwide, as reported in the January 2024 WHO report(6).

Keywords: Conference of the Parties, Framework Convention, WHO, Panama, Protocol against Illicit Trade, Article 5.3, Tobacco Industry

©Tobacco Free Generation

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(1) The tenth session of the Conference of the Parties adopted historic decisions to protect the environment from the harmful effects of tobacco and to address cross-border advertising, promotion and sponsorship.FCTC, published 10 February 2024, accessed 13 February 2024.

(2) Global progress made in the WHO tobacco treaty negotiations in PanamaASH-USA, Published 12 February 2024, Accessed 13 February 2024.

(3) Addressing global progress in the implementation of the WHO FCTC at COP10World Heart Federation, Published 12 February 2024, Accessed 13 February 2024.

(4) Disruption around COP 10 and MOP 3Tobacco Tactics, updated 24 January 2024, accessed 13 February 2024.

(5) WHO FCTC adopts new decision to reduce environmental impact of tobacco, but bypasses e-cigarettesHealth Policy Watch, published 12 February 2024, accessed 13 February 2024.

(6) WHO, WHO global report on trends in the prevalence of tobacco use 2000–2030report, January 2024, 135 p.

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