Health advocates: Protect youth; monitor, expose tobacco industry tactics

31 May 2020

In line with the celebration for World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) bearing the theme “Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use,” tobacco control and health advocates push for stronger measures to counteract tobacco and related industries’ systematic, aggressive and sustained tactics to attract a new generation of tobacco users.

President of the Philippine College of Physicians Dr. Gina Nazareth reiterated that vaping and e-cigarette products are not harmless products. She also cited that recent studies exposed the presence of practically the same major chemicals found in tobacco products on e-cigarettes that can cause heart and lung diseases.

“The industry has actively employed strategies and in-depth research to make their products more appealing and understate the dangers that it poses to our health,” said Nazareth.

Among the objectives of the WNTD 2020 global campaign against tobacco serves to raise awareness and debunk myths, expose manipulation tactics used by tobacco and related industries, particularly youth-oriented marketing tactics such as the introduction of new and novel products, flavors and other attractive features.

The campaign also aims to inform, empower and involve influencers (in pop culture, social media, home, or in school) to be agents of change and support the youth in the battle against the industry.

“The industry has created a matrix of strategies to over and over again to circumvent tobacco control regulations. At the end of the day it’s their business they must protect in order to ensure profit, which is why the industry has since been targeting the youth in order to create and sustain long-term customers,” said Limpin.

“It is high time that we put an end to this deceit regarding the industries’ intentions and tactics to get the current and future generations hooked on their product that is akin to death on a stick. The pretense of promoting freedom of choice is void as mounting evidence revealed that their strategies increase tobacco consumption as well as youth initiation,” added Limpin.

Health advocates call on the national and subnational governments to support and enable the implementation of comprehensive tobacco control policies, as laid out by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and enforce the full and strict implementation of the ban on selling of tobacco products within the 100 meter radius of all and any establishments frequented by minors.

“We urge the lawmakers to pass a more comprehensive tobacco control policy as this will help deter the industry from evading tobacco control regulations and leveraging legislative gaps. Thus we can protect the  youth and teenagers from exploitation by manufacturers and prevent the consumption of nicotine and tobacco products by younger generations,” said Limpin.

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