WHO Launches Campaign To Reach Youth Targeted By Tobacco, Nicotine Companies

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 29th May, 2020) The World Health Organization (WHO) is launching a campaign to reach to youth and children targeted by the tobacco and nicotine industries amid alarming data showing that millions of people have started smoking at a very young age, Ruediger Krech, WHO's director of Health Promotion, has said.

"If we are not careful, we may lose ground into tobacco control as the industry persists and is looking to hook a new younger generation on its products. We set out to do a bold campaign to reach youth and audiences that are targeted directly by the tobacco and nicotine industry," Krech told a virtual briefing on the occasion of the World No Tobacco Day celebrated on Sunday.

According to the WHO official, more than 40 million young people have already started to use tobacco aged 13 to 15. Krech noted that tobacco and nicotine companies are targeting youth in markets, where regulations are lacking or void or with new products that have not yet been regulated.

"We must invest in our youth and ensure that they have the tools that they need to say no to tobacco and nicotine industry. That is why WHO is launching a new school toolkit that provides youth with this knowledge. The toolkit exposes tactics such as parties and concerts hosted by the tobacco and related industries, e-cigarette flavors that attract youth like bubblegum and candy, e-cigarette representatives presenting in schools and product placement in popular youth streaming shows," he said.

Adriana Blanco Marquizo, the head of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Secretariat, in turn, also voiced concerns over the engagement of the youth in smoking cigarettes and consuming other nicotine products.

"This is why on this year's World No Tabacco Day, the Secretariat is calling on parties to strengthen or implement the main measures of the FCTC, especially the ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship ... and regulate this market that is so directed at youth," Blanco Marquizo said.