23 / 05 / 2020

AHO exposes how tobacco and related industries manipulate youth

World No Tobacco Day 2020: Protecting youth from industry and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use

Ahead of World No Tobacco Day (31 May), the Africa Health Organisation is highlighting the damage of tobacco and related industry tactics: tobacco kills up to half its users. AHO is calling on countries and partners to empower youth to stand up to Big Tobacco by dispelling its lies and refusing to use its products.

Tobacco kills 8 million people every year, and more than 7 million of those death are the result of direct tobacco. Tobacco is one of the greatest public health threats the world has ever faced.

Imagine if tobacco were a virus. The world would invest billions of dollars to develop vaccines and medicines. But many governments turn a blind-eye to the million-dollar industry, which  continues to profit from the suffering and death of its customers.

Tobacco companies spent over 8 billion in marketing and advertising to find new consumers to replace the ones that their products are killing to maintain revenue. And now the industry is aggressively trying to attract a new generation of tobacco users – youth.

How are tobacco and related industries manipulating the youth?

  • Use of flavours that appeal to children and adolescent. Over 15,000 flavours, including chocolate, honey, grape rum, strawberry, “sweet” (including bubble gum, candy, and toffee), and vanilla.
  • Sleek designs. Makes it easy to carry and hide. For example, products shaped like USB sticks.
  • Product placement and advertising near schools. Gives school children the opportunity to access tobacco and nicotine products.
  • Social media marketing. Tobacco companies bombard children and adolescents with social media messages that were viewed over 25 billion times.
  • School scholarships. The vaping industry offers academic scholarships to high school kids.

What can be done?

The world’s youth cannot and should not be deceived by the lies of the tobacco industry.

AHO calls for action, urging everyone – in Africa and around the world – to connect with the youth to expose the industry’s manipulative tactics to encourage a tobacco-free generation.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is proving that health is the first and most immediate priority. Governments should continue to focus on the well-being of their citizens and choose health not tobacco.


Written by Zach Malik

AHO PRESS OFFICE, 43 Berkeley Square, London, W1J 5FJ, info@aho.org