Protecting youth from nicotine use

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    FOR decades, the tobacco industry has deliberately employed strategic, aggressive and well-resourced tactics to attract youth to tobacco and nicotine products. Internal industry documents reveal in-depth research and calculated designed to attract a new generation of tobacco users, from product design to marketing campaigns aimed at replacing the millions of people who die each year from tobacco-attributable diseases with new consumers – youth.

    In response to the tobacco and related industries’ systematic, aggressive and sustained tactics to attract a new generation of tobacco users, World No Tobacco Day 2020 will provide a counter-marketing campaign and empower young people to engage in the fight against Big Tobacco. This is especially important right now as studies show that smokers have a higher risk for a severe case of coronavirus. WHO calls on all young people to join the fight to become a tobacco-free generation.

    The World No Tobacco Day 2020 global campaign will serve to debunk myths and expose manipulation tactics employed by the tobacco and related industries, particularly marketing tactics targeted at youth, including through the introduction of new and novel products, flavors and other attractive features.

    It also plans to equip young people with knowledge about the tobacco and related industries’ intentions and tactics to hook current and future generations on tobacco and nicotine products; and empower influencers to protect and defend youth and catalyze change by engaging them in the fight against Big Tobacco.

    WHO claims that tobacco and related industries manipulate the youth through the use of flavors that are attractive to youth in tobacco and nicotine products, like cherry, bubble gum and cotton candy, which encourages young people to underestimate the related health risks and to start using them.

    There is also the promotion of products as “reduced harm” or “cleaner” alternatives to conventional cigarettes in the absence of objective science substantiating these claims

    There is also a need to curb the sale of single stick cigarettes and other tobacco and nicotine products near schools, which makes it cheap and easy for school children to access tobacco and nicotine products as well as indirect marketing of tobacco products in movies, TV shows and online streaming shows.

    “The world cannot afford another generation deceived by the lies of the tobacco industry, which pretends to promote freedom of personal choice while really ensuring eternal profits – regardless of the millions of people that pay with their lives each year,” the organization said.

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