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CAPHRA Urges Govts To Re-evaluate Involvement In WHO FCTC Amid Concerns Of NGO Activism And Exclusionary Practices

CAPHRA, a leading international consumer advocacy group is calling on governments worldwide to critically assess their participation in the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

“We’re today highlighting troubling evidence of the FCTC's deviation from its original objectives towards becoming a platform dominated by non-governmental organization (NGO) activism” says said Nancy Loucas, a public health policy expert and passionate advocate for tobacco harm reduction and executive coordinator of CAPHRA.

This shift, she argues, has led to the systematic exclusion of harm reduction advocates and the media from crucial policy-making debates and meetings.

Evidence of Overreach and Exclusion

CAPHRA's concerns stem from her personal experiences and the broader negative treatment of consumers and global advocates of harm reduction by senior officials in the WHO FCTC and in turn, national governments who have been advised to not engage with consumers, under the guise of Article 5.3 of the FCTC.

“Despite the proven benefits of harm reduction strategies, such as electronic cigarettes and vaping products, in reducing the health impacts associated with tobacco use, these successful interventions are notably absent from FCTC discussions”, said Ms Loucas.

“This exclusion not only violates the human rights of individuals to participate in decision-making processes but also undermines the potential for comprehensive and effective tobacco control policies for people who smoke”.

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Furthermore, CAPHRA is raising alarm over the exclusion of independent media from the Conference of the Parties (COP) meetings, the decision-making body of the FCTC.

“This lack of transparency prevents public scrutiny and awareness of the policy decisions being made, further distancing the FCTC from its foundational principles of democratic, participatory, transparent, and inclusive governance”, said Ms Loucas.

A Call for Governmental Action

In light of these concerns, CAPHRA is urging governments to reconsider their involvement in the WHO FCTC.

"The FCTC has strayed from its path, prioritising the agenda of select NGOs over the well-being of the global population it seeks to protect," Loucas states. "It's time for governments to demand transparency, inclusivity, and respect for human rights in the implementation of international health treaties".

CAPHRA's call to action is not just about tobacco control; it's a plea for the integrity of international health policymaking.

“By allowing NGO activism to overshadow evidence-based harm reduction strategies and excluding critical voices from the conversation, the FCTC risks compromising its mission to improve public health”, Ms Loucas said.

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