Global Youth Voices Statement at COP10 Plenary

Dear madam president and WHO FCTC secretariat,

Thank you for supporting youths.

Esteemed delegates,

I am taking the floor for IPSF to speak on behalf of Global Youth Voices, a movement comprised of youth organizations from around the globe.

I stand before you, as a representative of youth voices, to express gratitude to many of you who genuinely prioritize youth interests by adopting only the strongest measures to protect us.

In our statement to COP at the International Youth Day, last August, we denounced the manipulative tactics of the tobacco industry on our generation. We condemned those who prioritize profit over our well-being. We wish to be heard: At COP10, let us not echo the tobacco industry’s deceptive rhetoric. Terms like “tobacco harm reduction” and “tobacco sustainability” are contradictory and ironic.

We ask for one thing from you this week: engage with the youth present at the COP premises. For example, you’re welcomed to visit our booth and attend our youth-focused side events on Thursday and Friday. Youth are experts in their own right and have many ideas your work could benefit from so we can create a better smokefree world together going forward.

It’s crucial to hold the tobacco industry liable for past, present, and future harms; to protect our environment from tobacco-related damage and dispel the illusion of harm reduction. According to the Global Youth Tobacco Survey trends, youths in countries with bans on addictive products fare better than those with access restrictions. Hence, it is important to remove addictive products from any market or platform, including digital ones, that can reach the youth.

This COP has the power to change the course of our future. Throughout this week, youths worldwide will be watching and future generations will remember you for being the one who protected them or for being the one who failed them and put them in danger.

Thank you.