World No Tobacco Day has its date every May 31 of each year, as a proposal by the World Health Organization (WHO) to face one of the most frequent addictions. This year the emphasis is on young people and their exposure to the scourge.
For this World No Tobacco Day 2020, the WHO launched the slogan “Protect young people from the manipulation of the industry and prevent their consumption of tobacco and nicotine” . The axis is around the early ages and their vulnerability to tobacco propaganda.
Cigarette companies are known to have an oiled mechanism for advertising. And adolescents are a large part of their current and future market. When a person begins smoking at an early age, it is very likely that they will continue to do so into adulthood.
Tobacco propaganda uses myths that overlap within messages with real content. In this way, a young person may believe that nicotine is not harmful in small amounts, or that the consumption of a few cigarettes will not lead to long-term addiction.
Multiple steps have been taken over the past decades to discourage smoking, but they are still not enough. We are facing an industry that moves millions of dollars, and it is not easy to stop it.
Tobacco as a global problem
According to official WHO figures, there are 8 million deaths a year due to smoking. Among them, about 1 million are from smoke exposure from non-smokers.
The problem is also socioeconomic, as shown by the distribution of smokers. 80% of the world’s smokers live in low- or middle-income countries.
World No Tobacco Day highlights that the costs to health systems are enormous in dealing with the complications of nicotine. And this is most evident in those poor countries with deteriorating health systems.
In children and young people, the scourge is worrisome from various aspects. There are tobacco production areas where children are employed as labor, and there they come into contact with nicotine through the skin, directly.
Children also suffer from passive smoking, inhaling deadly smoke that accelerates their risk factors. It is estimated that almost 65,000 children die each year from problems derived from this inhalation.