The World Health Organization is calling on everyone to celebrate World No Tobacco Day on May 31 with the theme “Tobacco-Free Youth.”
Globally, most people start smoking before the age of 18, and almost a quarter of these individuals begin using tobacco before the age of 10. The younger children are when they first try smoking, the more likely they are to become regular tobacco users and the less likely they are to quit.
It is clearly proven that exposure to direct and indirect pro-tobacco advertising, together with other marketing strategies used by the tobacco industry, leads to an increase in experimentation by young people and, in turn, to the very real risk of their becoming regular users of tobacco products. The tobacco industry spends tens of billions of dollars worldwide every year to effectively market its products in as many ways as possible.
In response to this threat to young people, this year’s World No Tobacco Day campaign focuses on the following main message:
One of the most effective ways countries can protect young people from experimenting and becoming regular tobacco users is to ban all forms of direct and indirect tobacco advertising, including promotion of tobacco products and sponsorship, by the tobacco industry, of any events or activities.
WHY DO WE NEED TO CAMPAIGN FOR A TOTAL BAN ON TOBACCO ADVERTISING, PROMOTION AND SPONSORSHIP?
• Because about half the children of the world live in countries that do not ban free distribution of tobacco products to them.
• Because only total and comprehensive bans can be effective in reducing tobacco consumption.
• Because national-level studies before and after advertising bans found a decline in tobacco consumption of up to 16%.
• Because partial bans have little or no impact on demand since advertising can be switched to alternative media.
Direct and indirect tobacco advertising is conducted in numerous ways via: television; radio; Internet; magazines; banners, posters and hoardings; direct mail; coupons; sweepstake offers; brand stretching; brand loyalty programs; sponsorship of sports; sponsorship of specialized entertainment events in popular youth locations such as bars and clubs; and controlled circulation magazines distributed to those on the tobacco industry’s large mailing list.