Thursday, 20 June, 2024
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Big Tobacco deliberately targeting youth – WHO report

The WHO has accused tobacco companies of continuing to actively target young people via social media, sports and music festivals – and new flavoured products – saying the companies are trying to hook a new generation on nicotine.

The companies have claimed that their smoking alternatives, like vapes, are aimed at adult smokers, but the WHO and industry watchdog STOP said in a joint report that these products are often marketed to youth, that their design and fruity flavours appeal to children, and that young people are more likely to use them than adults in many countries.

Reuters reports that the industry’s protests that it is “working to reduce the harm from smoking” were rejected by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director-general. “It’s dishonest to talk about harm reduction when they are marketing to children,” he said.

The agency’s tough stance comes on the heels of an escalation in youth vaping in several countries, with flavours like bubblegum being just one driver of this rise.

While large tobacco companies have mostly steered away from such flavours, the WHO said firms like Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco target youth via the sponsorship of music and sports festivals and via social media.

These provide platforms to promote their brands to younger audiences and hand out free samples.

Both companies said they aimed to move smokers away from cigarettes.

STOP report

Reuters article – Tobacco industry aims to hook new generation on vapes, WHO says (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

UK £1bn vaping industry ‘targets children’ with cartoons and kiddy flavours

 

Toxic lead, uranium levels in teen vapers’ urine – US study

 

Dual use of cigarettes and vaping devices worse than single use – two US studies

 

Vaping scourge among children prompts long-term health effects study

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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