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World No Tobacco Day 2020
  • 65,000 children die each year due to illnesses related to secondhand smoke.
  • Nicotine in e-cigarettes is a highly addictive drug and can damage children’s developing brains.
  • Children and teens who use e-cigarettes at least double their chance of smoking cigarettes later in life.
  • Tobacco and related industries entice children and adolescents with their sleek designs and partnerships with social media influencers.
  • Around the world, tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke kill more than 8 million people every year.
  • Tobacco use accounts for 25% of all cancer deaths worldwide.

Around the globe, the World No Tobacco Day is celebrated every 31st of May. This year’s global campaign is extra special because it serves to educate and arm our youth with knowledge that enables them to make informed decisions about their health.

The tobacco industry has deliberately used strategic tactics to attract a new generation of users – the youth. This year’s campaign aims to debunk myths and expose manipulation tactics by tobacco industries and empower influencers whether at home, on social media, in school or in pop culture, to protect and defend the youth from misinformation and involve them in the fight against tobacco.

Are e-cigarettes considered tobacco products?

Yes. E-cigarettes are noncombustible tobacco products. Also called Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems or ENDS, e-cigarettes are electronic devices that heat a liquid and produce an aerosol or mix of small particles in the air.

They are known by many different names such as e-cigs, mods, vapes, vape pens, e-hookahs and e-pipes. ENDS emissions typically contain nicotine and other toxic substances that are harmful to both users and those exposed to secondhand smoke.

Video: World Health Organization

How are tobacco industries attracting children and teens?

  1. Flavors in tobacco and nicotine products
    There are over 15,000 flavors in the market and many of which like cherry, apple, cotton candy and bubble gum, attract young people and encourage them to underestimate health risks posed by tobacco use.
  2. Sleek designs and attractive products
    Most e-cigarettes are designed to be sleek, easy to carry and easily disguised making them very attractive to children and teenagers. There are e-cigarettes shaped like USD sticks, candies, pens and highlighters.
  3. Celebrity and social media influencers
    To increase brand awareness, tobacco industries employ celebrities and social media influencers with large following. Product endorsements can influence today’s youth by creating an impression that smoking and/or using e-cigarettes is cool and harmless.
  4. Being promoted as “cleaner” alternatives or products with “reduced harm”
    Most products are marketed as better, cleaner options alternative to traditional cigarettes without the science substantiating these claims.
  5. Indirect marketing of tobacco products
    Movies, music videos, TV shows, video games and online streaming shows that display the use of tobacco or any recognizable symbols or logos can indirectly influence children and teens.
  6. Point of sale marketing at vendor outlets
    Another tactic is positioning tobacco products conspicuously in areas frequented by young people (near sweets, snack, sodas in retail stores, in vending machines and near schools).
No Tobacco Day 2020
No Tobacco Day 2020
No Tobacco Day 2020
Images: World Health Organization

What are the dangers of tobacco?

Every year, over 7 million people die from direct tobacco use and 1.2 million people die from implications caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.

Smoking tobacco is one biggest known risk factors of lung cancer, but the health risks does not stop there. Smoking tobacco can cause almost anywhere in your body including the mouth and throat, bladder, cervix, pancreas, liver, stomach, kidney, colon and rectum and the blood (acute myeloid leukemia).

SEE ALSO: 7 things you need to know about mouth cancer

Secondhand smoke causes serious heart and respiratory diseases in adults, increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in infants and causes pregnancy complications and low birth weights in pregnant women. Every year, 65,000 children die from diseases attributable to secondhand smoke.

How can you participate on this year’s World No Tobacco Day?

We are all called to educate and empower ourselves and the youth around us with the right information about the health risks posed by tobacco use and to expose industries’ manipulative strategies to create a new generation of tobacco users.

You can find key messages, infographics and videos that you can share on social media and use at home to teach your children. Use #TobaccoExposed and join the campaign.

Visit WHO to find out more about the World No Tobacco Day.

References