WHO COP 9 is held virtually this year……

Organisers of the ninth Conference of the Parties (COP9) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which will take place online in November, blames the postponement on “the limited time available for the virtual session and the substantive discussions expected”.

But experts have suggested to TobaccoIntelligence that there are concerns within the UN agency around opposition from some member states, particularly the UK, to the WHO’s stance towards tobacco-alternative products.

“I suspect they may be putting off the discussion because they are unlikely to reach a consensus,” said Christopher Snowdon of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).

Public health expert Clive Bates suspects that the Convention Secretariat may want to avoid any major controversies in order to keep the conference down to the minimal essential work it needs to do.