9 in 10 smokers start before 18 years; WHO launches tool kit for children

Nine in 10 smokers start before they are 18 years old and the tobacco industry was continuing its tactics to hook them to addictive products, the World Health Organisation said on the eve of World Tobacco day.

Noting that even during a world pandemic, the tobacco and nicotine industry continued to promote their products. Tobacco limits the ability of the people to fight the coronavirus.

The World Tobacco day that falls on May 31 focuses on protecting teenagers, who are a key target sector.  The WHO states that more than 40 million youth aged 13-15 are under the grip of tobacco.


Ina bid to reach the younger generation and to sent its message against the use of tobacco, the WHO has launched new kit for school students aged 13-17. Through the initiative, the UN Body wants to alert the children against the tobacco industry tactics used to hook them to addictive products.  “Every year the tobacco industry invests more than nine billion dollars to advertise its products. Increasingly, it is targeting young people with nicotine and tobacco products in a bid to replace the eight million people that its products kill every year,” the WHO said.

The tool Kit contains a set of classroom activities that would clearly teach the children how the tobacco industry exploits them. The kit includes an educational video promo, myth-buster quiz, and homework assignments. The toolkit also exposes the tactics such as parties and concerts hosted by tobacco and related industries.

Apart from this, the WHO also launched the Tobacco Exposed challenge on TikTok and welcomed social media partnerships with other platforms including Pinterest and YouTube.

Health Promotion at WHO director Ruediger Krech said that educating youth was vital as nearly nine out of ten smokers start before age 18. “We want to provide young people with the knowledge to speak out against tobacco industry manipulation,” he said.


The WHO has called on all schools to refuse any form of sponsorship and prohibit representatives from nicotine and tobacco companies from speaking to students. They also asked celebrities and influencers to reject all offers of sponsorship. Another thing that the WHO said was that television and streaming services should stop showing tobacco or e-cigarette use on screen. The WHO said that social media platforms should ban the marketing of tobacco and related products and prohibit influencer marketing. Apart from this, they asked the governments to ban all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

They wanted the countries to put in place strict tobacco control laws.


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