July 21, 2024
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Addressing Youth Tobacco Addiction:World No Tobacco Day 2024

Tobacco

On World No Tobacco Day 2024, we delve into the addictive nature of tobacco for young people and strategies to help them avoid and quit smoking. Tobacco addiction often starts early, with nine out of ten smokers beginning before age 18. A staggering two-thirds of those who try one cigarette become daily smokers. Quitting is notoriously difficult, taking an average of 30 attempts.

To protect future generations, we need strong measures from decision-makers and collective advocacy at national and global levels. The solution lies in social responsibility, focusing on stricter marketing rules, tax regulations, and spreading awareness about the tobacco industry’s tactics.

First, we must regulate tobacco marketing. The industry invests heavily in digital and social media ads, places products near schools, and sponsors media to glamorize smoking. We need to stop these practices and regulate all products, including vapes, with plain packaging, flavor bans, health warnings, and display bans.

Second, increasing its taxes is crucial. Effective taxation, consistent across products and regions, can significantly reduce smoking rates. However, taxes alone aren’t enough; they must be paired with other regulatory measures to foster a healthy lifestyle for everyone.

Third, we need to improve and adapt health warnings for younger audiences. Messages like “Smoking Kills” are essential but often insufficient. We must expose the tobacco industry’s manipulative tactics and highlight the environmental damage caused by tobacco. Cigarette butts are a major pollutant, and its cultivation contributes to deforestation. These environmental impacts resonate with youth and need greater emphasis.

The WHO Framework Convention on Control calls for reducing nicotine use, yet it remains responsible for 2.5 million annual deaths, with high youth usage. We must act now, particularly for young people in vulnerable areas. Despite having the tools, political instruments, and scientific knowledge, our actions are inadequate. This must change.

Source: https://blogs.worldbank.org/en/health/World-No-Tobacco-Day-2024

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