CRN’s statement on the ‘Dirty Ashtray’ award of the Philippines at COP10

February 13, 2024

We express our disappointment in the Philippine delegation for prioritizing tobacco industry interests over the welfare of our children.

The recently concluded 10th session of the Conference of Parties to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in Panama marks a critical juncture for nations, amid intensified campaigns by the tobacco industry to co-opt the definition of “harm reduction” in order to make their new electronic nicotine products more appealing and acceptable.

Let’s be clear: Real harm reduction does not involve introducing new and addictive products into the open market for both smokers and non-smokers alike, nor does it involve targeting children through youthful marketing to lure them into nicotine dependency.

The youth ‘vapedemic’ in the Philippines will continue to worsen if we do not strengthen tobacco control measures now and reverse the pro-tobacco industry influence in our legislation and national policies.

Let’s be clear: The pro-tobacco industry Vape Law, which the Philippine delegation showcased at the Conference of Parties, is making vapes or e-cigarettes more accessible to children. Cheap disposable vapes are being sold online and in the streets, even near schools. That’s what happens when authorities improve the image of vaping and give the industry ammunition.

The latest Global Youth Tobacco Survey shows that 1 in 7 Filipino kids aged 13 to 15 are already vulnerable to nicotine addiction through vapes and e-cigarettes.

We will continue to raise awareness because if our own government is continuously willing to be a mouthpiece of the tobacco industry, we will continue to push back for our children’s welfare.