World No Tobacco Day: A step forward for public health

(VOVWORLD) -This year’s World No Tobacco Week from May 25 to 31 is themed “Protecting children from tobacco industry interference” to emphasize the need for the tobacco industry to stop targeting children and adolescents with its products harmful to health.

World No Tobacco Day: A step forward for public health - ảnh 1Dr. Angela Pratt, WHO Chief Representative in Vietnam, underscores the need to protect young people against the harmful effects of cigarettes of all types, at the Ministry of Health's a meeting in Hanoi on May 26 to mark World No Tobacco Day 2024 (May 31). (Photo: MoH)

Worldwide, tobacco causes about 500 billion USD in damage each year. Health care costs for tobacco are estimated to account for about 6-15% of total annual health care costs.

Young people have a higher risk of becoming addicted to the nicotine in tobacco products than adults. In countries that allow e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products, despite tight regulations, little progress has been made in preventing young people from using these products.

It is estimated that globally there are about 37 million children aged 13-15 years old using tobacco. The rate of e-cigarette use among adolescents has exceeded the rate of use among adults. In Europe, 20% of 15-year-olds surveyed said they had used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days.

According to the World Health Organization, there is a clear association between increasing rates of tobacco product use among youth and reaching youth through tobacco advertising, promotion, and marketing, especially on digital platforms.

Rudiger Krech, Director for Health Promotion at WHO, said “The industry is exploiting digital and social media delivery apps and other innovative ways to reach our children. At the same time, they are continuing with old tricks such as giving away free samples to recruit a new generation as customers.”

The World Health Organization and STOP, a global tobacco industry watchdog, on May 23 released a report “Engaging the Next Generation,” which showed an increase in cigarette and e-cigarettes smoking among adolescents.

WHO calls on governments to protect young people from using tobacco, e-cigarettes and other nicotine products by banning or strictly managing these products. WHO recommendations include protecting children from the impact of tobacco advertising and marketing via social networks and digital platforms.

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