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Stop the exploitation of children and youth in the tobacco industry

The World Health Organization is today launching a new kit for school students between the ages of 13–17 to free them from drug products using the tobacco industry strategy. Every year the tobacco industry invests more than 9 billion USD to advertise its products. Increasingly, it is targeting youth with nicotine and tobacco products in a bid to replace the 8 million people that its products kill each year.

This year WHO's World Tobacco Prohibition Day campaign focuses on protecting children and youth from exploitation by tobacco and related industry. The toolkit has a set of activities including classroom that puts students in the shoes of the tobacco industry to let them know how the industry tries to manipulate them into using lethal products. It also includes an educational video, myth-buster quizzes and homework assignments.

The toolkit attracts youth such as parties and concerts organized by tobacco and related industries, e-cigarette flavors such as bubble-gum and candy, representatives of e-cigarettes present in schools, and product placement in popular youth streaming shows.

Even during the global pandemic, the tobacco and nicotine industry advances products that limit people's ability to fight coronovirus and recover from the disease. The industry has offered free branded masks and delivery at your doorstep during quarantine and has advocated for their products to be listed as listedrequired आवश्यक.

Smoking suffocates the lungs and other organs, causing them to develop oxygen and require them to function properly. "Educated youth is important because around 9 out of 10 smokers start before the age of 18. We want to impart knowledge to young people to speak out against molestation from the tobacco industry," Ridzier, director of health promotion at WHO Krech said.

More than 40 million youth aged 13–15 have already started using tobacco. To reach out to more young people, the WHO also launched a TickTalk dance challenge and welcomed social media partners such as Pinterest, Tinder, YouTube and TikTok to enhance the message.

WHO calls for help in curbing the marketing strategy of tobacco and related industries in all areas that hunt children and young people:

  • Schools refuse sponsorship of any kind and prohibit representatives of nicotine and tobacco companies from speaking to students
  • Celebrity and influencers reject all celebrity offers
  • Television and streaming services prohibit tobacco or e-cigarette use on screen
  • Social media platforms ban the marketing of tobacco and related products and prohibit affected marketing
  • Government and financial sector are separate from tobacco and related industries
  • Governments ban all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship

Countries can protect children from the exploitation of the industry by enforcing strict tobacco control laws regulating products such as e-cigarettes, which have already troubled the new generation of youth.

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