WHO issues stark warning about alarming rate of youth addiction to e cigarettes

| | New Delhi
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WHO issues stark warning about alarming rate of youth addiction to e cigarettes

Monday, 03 June 2024 | Pioneer News Service | New Delhi

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a stark warning about the alarming rates of youth addiction to e-cigarettes, highlighting a troubling trend of the industry targeting young people for long-term profit. Saima Wazed, WHO Regional Director said, "The fight against tobacco is particularly important for us in South-East Asia. The tobacco industry's targeting of youth is rampant across our Member States. As a result, we have a very worrying 11 million adolescents using various tobacco products in the region.”

She called upon the governments to adopt policies to protect them from the manipulative practices of tobacco and related industries, which includes the relentless marketing of their dangerous products through social media and streaming platforms.

"The tobacco industry moves with speed to launch new products, using every means to expand market share before regulations can catch up," the WHO Regional Director said cautioning that they continue to oppose evidence-based measures, such as increases in excise taxes, and comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotions, and sponsorships. “They even threaten legal action against governments that try to protect the health of their citizens."

Echoing similar concerns, anti-tobacco platform Mothers Against Vaping, a united front of concerned mothers combating the escalating vaping crisis among youths,  organised an event “Saving the Next Generation from New-Age Addictions”  recently.

Kushboo Sundar, Actress and Politician, a special invitee of the BJP National Executive Committee and a member of the National Commission for Women and Kishwar Desai, Author and Columnist, joined the cause which already has support of the sports icons and influential role models like Baichung Bhutia, Deepa Malik and Neha Dhupia among many others.

Dr Bhavna Barmi, Clinical Psychologist, Founder, Happiness Studio said: “Children’s mental states make them highly susceptible to early experimentation with addictive behaviours. Hence, we are witnessing a troubling surge in children being drawn to enticing electronic addictive devices like vapes and e-cigarettes. A major factor fuelling this trend is the packaging and advertising tactics employed by manufacturers of these modern devices.”

At the event, the organization released a 4-point agenda to counter and neutralise 5 popular alleged strategies adopted by the global tobacco industry to promote gateway devices to young children.

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