Tobacco and nicotine industry tactics addict youth for life

May 24, 2024
Young people using e-cigarettes at rates higher than adults in many countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and STOP, a global tobacco industry watchdog, are launching “Hooking the next generation,” a report highlighting how the tobacco and nicotine industry designs products, implements marketing campaigns and works to shape policy environments to help them addict the world’s youth.

This comes just ahead of World No Tobacco Day marked on May 31, where WHO is amplifying the voices of young people who are calling on governments to protect them from being targets of the tobacco and nicotine industry.

The report shows that globally an estimated 37 million children aged 13–15 years use tobacco, and in many countries, the rate of e-cigarette use among adolescents exceeds that of adults. In the WHO European Region, 20% of 15-year-olds surveyed reported using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days.

Despite significant progress in reducing tobacco use, the emergence of e-cigarettes and other new tobacco and nicotine products present a grave threat to youth and tobacco control. Studies demonstrate that e-cigarette use increases conventional cigarette use, particularly among non-smoking youth, by nearly three times.

These industries continue to market their products to young people with enticing flavors like candy and fruit. Research in the United States of America found that more than 70% of youth e-cigarette users would quit if the products were only available in tobacco flavor.

WHO urges governments to protect young people from the uptake of tobacco, e-cigarettes and other nicotine products by banning or tightly regulating these products. WHO recommendations include creating 100% smoke-free indoor public places, banning flavored e-cigarettes, bans on marketing, advertising and promotion, higher taxes, increasing public awareness of the deceptive tactics used by the industry and supporting youth-led education and awareness initiatives.

WHO release

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