WHO aims to educate youth on tobacco industry marketing tactics


The World Health Organization (WHO) recently launched a toolkit for children 13 to 17 to educated them on tobacco industry tactics used to attract them to its products.

Tactics include product placement in popular youth streaming shows, e-cigarette representatives presenting in schools, e-cigarette flavors that attract youth like bubble-gum and candy, and parties and concerts hosted by the tobacco and related industries.

The toolkit includes classroom activities, an educational video, a quiz, and homework assignments.

“Educating youth is vital because nearly none out of 10 smokers start before age 18,” Ruediger Krech, WHO director for Health Promotion, said. “We want to provide young people with the knowledge to speak out against tobacco industry manipulation.”

The tobacco industry invests more than $9 billion annually in advertising, which is increasingly targeting youth.

The marketing tactics have continued despite the COVID-19 pandemic and include the tobacco industry lobbying for their products to be classified as essential, delivering products to customer’s homes during quarantine, and offered free branded masks.

More than 40 million people between the ages of 13 and 15 use tobacco.

WHO’s 2020 campaign World No Tobacco Day focuses on protecting children and adolescents from exploitation by the tobacco and related industries.