World No Tobacco Day 31 May 2020
Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use.
For decades, the tobacco industry has deliberately employed strategic, aggressive, and well-resourced tactics to attract youth to tobacco and nicotine products. Internal industry documents reveal in-depth research and calculated approaches designed to attract a new generation of tobacco users, from product design to marketing campaigns aimed at replacing the millions of people who die each year from tobacco-attributable diseases with new consumers – youth.
In response to the tobacco and related industries’ systematic, aggressive and sustained tactics to attract a new generation of tobacco users, World No Tobacco Day 2020 will provide a counter-marketing campaign and empower young people to engage in the fight against Big Tobacco.
HOW TO OBSERVE WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY
1. Count the number of cigarettes you smoke
You might not be ready to quit, and who can blame you? It’s tough. But you can start laying the groundwork for your exit by counting the number of cigarettes you smoke in a day. You’ll start to think more about your health and the amount of money you put into tobacco. When you’re ready to take the plunge, there are plenty of self-help books that will guide you through the early rocky stages. You can do it!
2. Educate the youth
As they say, the best way to quit smoking is to never start. So try and encourage young people around you to avoid the habit altogether. Depending on where you live, there might be a march or some public demonstrations. Maybe you can design a cool poster to help promote them. Better yet, hold a contest to see who can create the best anti-smoking poster. Teenagers can be a bit mischievous, so you’ll want to clearly define what’s “appropriate” before they hit you with the final reveal.
3. Lobby for sticker laws
Warning labels on cigarette boxes deter people from smoking. Petition to support these laws so that the trend continues to gain momentum. Also, plain packaging laws could also use some more backing. These laws place restrictions on the logos and colors of tobacco products, which make them tougher to sell. Do you know how you can’t judge a book by its cover? Well, people definitely judge a product by its packaging. If the label looks drab, we’re less likely to pay it any mind, and that’s totally not shallow. It’s not like tobacco has a good personality on the inside.
The World No Tobacco Day 2020 global campaign will serve to:
- Debunk myths and expose manipulation tactics employed by the tobacco and related industries, particularly marketing tactics targeted at youth, including through the introduction of new and novel products, flavors and other attractive features;
- Equip young people with knowledge about the tobacco and related industries’ intentions and tactics to hook current and future generations on tobacco and nicotine products; and
- Empower influencers (in pop culture, on social media, in the home, or in the classroom) to protect and defend youth and catalyze change by engaging them in the fight against Big Tobacco.
How are tobacco and related industries manipulating youth?
- Use of flavors that are attractive to youth in tobacco and nicotine products, like cherry, bubble gum and cotton candy, which encourages young people to underestimate the related health risks and to start using them
- Sleek designs and attractive products, which can also be easy to carry and are deceptive (e.g. products shaped like a USB stick or candy) WHO
- Promotion of products as “reduced harm” or “cleaner” alternatives to conventional cigarettes in the absence of objective science substantiating these claims
- Celebrity/influencer sponsorships and brand-sponsored contests to promote tobacco and nicotine products (e.g. Instagram influencers)
- Point-of-sale marketing at vendor outlets frequented by children, including positioning near sweets, snacks or soda and providing premiums for vendors to ensure their products are displayed near venues frequented by young people (includes providing marketing materials and display cases to retailers)
- Sale of single stick cigarettes and other tobacco and nicotine products near schools, which makes it cheap and easy for school children to access tobacco and nicotine products
- Indirect marketing of tobacco products in movies, TV shows, and online streaming shows
- Tobacco vending machines at venues frequented by young people, covered in attractive advertising and pack displays, and undermining regulations on sales to minors
- Litigation to weaken all kinds of tobacco control regulations including warning labels, display at the point of sale, and regulations that limit access and marketing to children (specifically provisions to ban the sale and advertising of tobacco products near schools)
WHY WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY IS IMPORTANT
1. It shows us how the tobacco industry contributes to poverty
Around 80% of deaths due to tobacco happen in low and middle-income countries. In other words, the poorest people are the ones most negatively affected. Due to addiction, money that could be used on education, food, or health care, goes to tobacco. Over the years, this decreases productivity and drives up the cost of health care. That’s not a pretty picture for any income, and it’s a sure-fire way to keep the less fortunate impoverished.
2. It warns us of the dangers of second-hand smoke
Second-hand smoke causes over 600,000 deaths a year. Sadly, about 28% of the victims are kids. But considering that nearly 50% of children breathe smoky air in public places, we’re lucky that the rate isn’t higher. Many cities and states already have public smoking bans, but it will take more work to get everybody on board. This is one time when you can jump on the bandwagon without losing any cool points—we promise. GSEB SSC/HSC Result June 2020
3. It demonstrates how the tobacco industry damages the environment
Growing tobacco takes a lot of pesticides and fertilizers. Some of these toxic elements can seep into water supplies, but the damage doesn’t stop there. The manufacturing process creates more than 2 million tons of waste and consumes 4.3 million hectares of land. It’s estimated that this contributes between 2% and 4% of the world’s deforestation. If you like to breathe air (we’re pretty big fans of it), it’s worth saving as much of our forests as possible. A few fewer tobacco farms could help.