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World No Tobacco Day: Protecting our youth from the influence of Tobacco

The tobacco business attracts young people by using enticing ads, vibrant packaging, and youth-centric marketing initiatives. It also provides flavoured tobacco products to entice first-time consumers by masking its harshness. Young people are especially susceptible to these marketing strategies.  

World No Tobacco Day: Protecting our youth from the influence of Tobacco RBA
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First Published May 31, 2024, 2:35 PM IST

In a world where the health and well-being of our youth are paramount, fighting against the tobacco industry is a big challenge. We need to be aware of how tobacco companies try to get young people hooked on to their products. They use sneaky tricks to make smoking seem cool and fun, even though it's bad for the health, pushing them into a lifetime of addiction and health risks.

To protect children from the influence of the tobacco industry, a combined effort is required from governments, communities, international organizations and family of youths. World No Tobacco Day reminds us of the need to protect our children from the harmful influence of the tobacco industry. This year's theme emphasizes our collective responsibility to act decisively and prevent the next generation from falling into the trap of tobacco addiction. By implementing strong policies, enforcing strict regulations, and fostering environments that support tobacco-free living, we can shield young people from the dangers of tobacco and build a healthier future for everyone.

According to Dr Raja Dhar, Director & HOD, Department of Pulmonology, Calcutta Medical Research Institute (CMRI), “Nicotine is the most addictive substance known to mankind, with tobacco smoking being the most prevalent addiction across the world. It is estimated that over one billion people smoke some form of tobacco globally. In India, about 1 in 3 of the adult population use tobacco in some form or the other. Almost 10% of the population are addicted to smoking and more than 20% use smokeless tobacco.”

World No Tobacco Day: Protecting our youth from the influence of Tobacco RBA

The tobacco industry uses various strategies to lure young people into using tobacco by creating appealing advertisements and colourful packaging and youth-centric marketing campaigns. They also introduce flavoured tobacco products that mask the harshness of tobacco, making it more attractive to first-time users. Children and teenagers are particularly vulnerable to these marketing tactics.

Exposure to tobacco advertising significantly increases the chances that young people will start smoking. Starting to use tobacco at a young age often leads to heavier use, higher dependency, and greater difficulty quitting later in life.

World No Tobacco Day: Protecting our youth from the influence of Tobacco RBA

“Across the world, there are 1.35 million deaths per year from the use of tobacco, a lot more than that from malaria, TB & HIV combined. The reason we celebrate World No Tobacco Day is because tobacco has turned out to be the greatest killer with diseases like chronic lung disease, oral cancer, stroke, heart disease and other lung problems occurring due to the use of tobacco. We at CMRI make a concerted effort to advise every patient who uses tobacco in some form or the other to refrain from using it. The services include discussing the challenge or problem with the patient, counselling them, having expert counsellors, and providing a holistic service in stopping tobacco use,” said Dr Dhar.

“World No Tobacco Day is a day to renew our pledge to try and ban tobacco use throughout our state and country. Let us all get together and pledge that we will make the world tobacco free one day,” added Dr Dhar.

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