More than 40 million adolescents between thirteen and fifteen years use tobacco, revealed today the World Health Organization (WHO), which has found a direct link between this early habit and the colossal investment that the industry makes to attract a public every younger.
The tobacco sector spends $ 9 billion each year to advertise tobacco “in a bid to replace the eight million people that its products kill each year,” says WHO on the occasion of World Tobacco Day.
This commemoration recalls the adoption on May 31, 2003 of the Global Framework Agreement against Tobacco, an international treaty that 181 countries have ratified and that has allowed to control the progress of tobacco consumption through various policies (health, education and tax among others), that the industry makes efforts to avoid.
The WHO has decided to dedicate the date this year to denounce the “exploitation of children and young people” by the manufacturers of tobacco products, whose tactics are responsible for the fact that nine out of ten smokers have started to be so before the age of 18 .
“This year we want to bring young people the knowledge to deal with manipulation attempts by the tobacco industry,” WHO Director of Health Promotion Ruediger Krech said at a press conference.
In the midst of the global crisis from the covid-19 pandemic, firms that manufacture tobacco-based products have continued to make every effort to promote their use, even when it is known that this affects a person’s body capacity. to fight the coronavirus and recover.
“Smoking suffocates the lungs and other organs, prevents them from getting the oxygen they need,” recalled a WHO expert.
Krech denounced that in recent months, tobacco companies have given away face masks and have offered the delivery of cigarettes and other tobacco products to homes in places where containment measures have been imposed, in addition to having tried to influence political leaders so that their products were considered “essential”.
The WHO announced that to try to counteract this influence on young people, it is making educational modules available to countries that include activities, videos and games that expose the tactics of the industry, including the sponsorship of parties and concerts, as well as the spread of cigarettes. electronic flavored, similar to those that can have chewing gum and chocolates.
In addition, the WHO called for regulations to be issued that prevent schools from accepting any form of sponsorship of tobacco firms or allowing their representatives to enter to speak with students.
Likewise, social media influencers and other celebrities should reject all sponsorship offers, while television networks and continuous online broadcast services should not show people using tobacco or electronic cigarettes.