For World No Tobacco Day 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has embarked on a global campaign to highlight the “strategic, aggressive and well-resourced tactics” employed by the tobacco industry to target youths and debunk the myths they create.
This year’s theme is “Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use.”
Information on the WHO’s website indicates that the campaign “will provide young people with the knowledge required to easily detect industry manipulation – from product design to marketing campaigns – and equip them with the tools to rebuff such tactics, thereby empowering young people to stand up against them.”
The WHO described this effort as a counter-marketing campaign as it will reinforce work in assisting countries in implementing effective policy interventions to reduce the demand for tobacco.
Also, the campaign will protect against industry tactics to undermine global and national efforts to implement evidence-based tobacco control policies.
In Guyana, Dr. Kavita Singh, Chronic Diseases Coordinator and Secretary of the Tobacco Control Council noted that the tobacco industry realising that they can no longer heavily promote conventional cigarettes are therefore capitalising on new trends, targeting young persons.
“It is during this point in time that ‘big tobacco’ is using strategic marketing techniques to try to get young people to experiment with the new and emerging novel products like the e-cigarettes and the heated tobacco products,” Dr Singh explained.
However, she said these products are more harmful than the smoke of an actual cigarette, since users incorrectly believing these new products may not have a harmful effect, tend to abuse them.
The reality is that these products have the same tobacco which has cancer-causing cells among other deadly emissions.
It was noted that countries like Guyana will have to redouble efforts in exercising stringent tobacco control measures to protect protecting persons from harmful exposure to tobacco products.