WHO: Ban tobacco advertising to protect young people

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no tobacco day

The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for countries to ban all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship to help reduce the number of tobacco users.

WHO says countries that have already introduced tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship bans are showing an average of 7 per cent reduction in tobacco consumption.

Countries that have banned displays of tobacco products at points of sale include Australia, Canada, Finland, Ireland, Nepal, New Zealand, Norway, Palau and Panama, with Australia also introducing plain packaging of tobacco products.

Ahead of the World No Tobacco Day observed on May 31, WHO says the tobacco industry is constantly finding new tactics to target potential smokers including using on-line and new media, such as pro-smoking smartphone applications and on-line discussions led by tobacco company staff posing as consumers.

Dr Douglas Bettcher, is the Director of WHO's Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases department.

"Banning all forms of advertising, promotion and sponsorship is one of the most effective and cost effective ways to reduce tobacco use. When you ban one type of advertising may be the most commonly known forms of advertising bill boards, television radio, then they move to other areas, sponsoring sports, cultural events. We want to do this because research shows very clearly that one third of youth experimentation with tobacco occurs as a result of exposure to tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. Most tobacco users start their deadly drug dependence before the age of 20 and there is no doubt about it that cigarettes are a deadly drug highly addictive so banning all forms of advertising promotion and sponsorship is the only way forward."

WHO says Tobacco use kills nearly 6 million people every year.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.

Duration 1:59″

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