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Regional vaping group bestows “Give the man a cigar” award to Philippines Secretary of Foreign Affairs

26 November 2021

Regional vaping group, CAPHRA, promotes smoking with “Give The Man A Cigar” Award given to Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary, who championed the tobacco industry during the recent ninth session of the WHO FCTC Conference of the Parties (COP9).

While claiming “vaping has saved the lives of millions of ex-smokers,” Nancy Loucas, coordinator of CAPHRA, which champions harm reduction, appears to simultaneously promote smoking. Loucas is also head of the now deregistered vaping group in New Zealand, Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy (AVCA).

The cigar business in the Philippines is controlled by Tabacalera Incorporada. According to its promotions, this company “embodies the fun-loving spirit of the Filipino people with its easy-going smoke”.  Its cigars are manufactured in Carmona, Cavite. In 2011, the Municipality of the Government of Carmona passed the Municipal Ordinance No. 009, an ordinance prohibiting the use, sale, distribution and advertisement of cigarettes and other tobacco products to establish smoke-free public places.

The President of Tabacalera, Michelle Ongpin Callaghan, is also the head of the Jaime V Ongpin Foundation (JVOF) which receives funds from Philip Morris International (PMI) to do CSR activities in the Philippines. In 2020, JVOF received more than US$12 million from PMI for its CSR activities. PMI’s local entity, Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. controls more than 70 percent of the cigarette market share. 

The Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) has been giving “Orchid” and “Dirty Ashtray” awards which began in 2000 during the negotiations of the WHO FCTC and continued at the sessions of the COP. During COP9 session, the Philippines was given a record 3 Dirty Ashtrays from FCA for its unhelpful position, blocking progress and giving excuses (Table 1). FCA is an international coalition of more than 300 organizations from around the world working on tobacco control. 

Table1: COP9 – FCA’s renowned ‘Orchid’ and ‘Dirty Ashtray’ awards

9 Novmeber 2021 Orchid To all Parties who stood their ground in support of the original text of the draft decision on the adoption of the agenda and encouraged that the work of the COP progress forward.
Dirty Ashtray To Guatemala and the Philippines – For insisting on amendments with unhelpful and often confusing wording which wasted valuable COP time.
10 Novmeber 2021 Orchid Committee B – for passing a well-prepared and transparent budget.
Dirty Ashtray Honduras for attempting to reopen the text of the omnibus decision for further discussion after its adoption.
11 Novmeber 2021 Orchid All of the Parties in Committee B that supported the inclusion of civil society in the Oversight Committee of the Investment Fund.
Dirty Ashtray Nicaragua, El Salvador, Philippines, Honduras and Guatemala for attempting to block progress at COP in the eleventh hour.
12 Novmeber 2021 Orchid Iran for proposing the COP9 Declaration on WHO FCTC and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and for all Parties who cosponsored the proposal.
Dirty Ashtray Philippines for using the burden of management of COVID-19 as an excuse to ignore that the FCTC is key to recovery from COVID-19 and building back better, given the established links between tobacco use, NCDs, and COVID-19.


CAPHRA’s “Good Cop, Bad Cop” awards on the other hand are a copycat award created to simply poke fun at the COP and take pot shots at high profile individuals (Table 2). This award was also promoted in the tobacco industry magazine, Tobacco Reporter.

Table 2: Harm Reduction groups’ labelling of COP9

Award Awardee Exposed
“Wow, Someone’s Actually Telling Us What’s Going On” COPWATCH for getting on the inside and giving the world real-time insights online. Disrespecting formal process of the COP

“Give the Man a Cigar”

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary, Teodoro Locsin Jr, for standing up to COP9 delegates by promoting the use of science in tobacco control.

Real intention exposed – a no- smoking group promotes smoking and cigars

“I am the Evidence”

U.S. consumer advocate and sCOPe panellist, Liana Hudspeth

The US is a non-party to the COP

“You Shouldn’t Really Say That About Yourself”

FCTC Head Adriana Blanco Marquizo for her “How industry weaponizes science” tweet.

Personal attack on the head of the Convention Secretariat for speaking the truth

“Our Proposal Won’t Do A Thing But Delegates Loved It”

Iran, whose government holds a sizable stake in its domestic tobacco industry.

Attack on 160 governments who adopted the Declaration at COP9

“Where the Hell Is Wally”

WHO sponsor, anti-vape crusader, and American billionaire Michael Bloomberg for trading in COP9 and instead flying to the COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow.

Personal attack on philanthropist, Michael Bloomberg, for funding public health initiatives


For details on the declaration on WHO FCTC and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic adopted by COP9 see: