Protecting the Youth Against Tobacco
15 April 2014: On World No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2014, CANSA places the focus on tobacco use amongst the youth.
Says CANSA’s Head of Health, Professor Michael Herbst, “Young adulthood is the most susceptible and vulnerable period to start using tobacco products and a main target for the tobacco industry. We need to protect our next generation from the harmful effects of tobacco and the industry’s manipulation to make them nicotine addicts.”
Long-term Effects of Tobacco-use on Youth
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), most people start smoking before the age of 18 and almost a quarter start using tobacco before the age of ten.
“The resting heart rate of youth that smoke is faster than that of their peers. Long-term effects before the age of 18, include chronic diseases such as lung and stomach cancer, stroke and heart disease. Research shows that there is a strong link between active cigarette smoking in young people and addiction to nicotine; reduced lung function; lung growth and asthma,” adds Herbst. Read more re the dangers of tobacco use here…
Tobacco Industry Actively Targeting & Misleading Youth
The tobacco industry actively targets the youth with appealing products and expensive marketing strategies, such as extensive use of price reduction promotions at festivals and music concerts or gatherings, as well as providing flavoured cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products (menthol, strawberry, grape flavoured that doesn’t require spitting or dry teabag- sized snuff sachets, dissolvable strips and lozenges).
CANSA warns the youth against the tobacco industry’s marketing tactics – “Even if the product claims to be ‘light’, ‘filtered’, ‘mild’, ‘low-tar’, ‘menthol’ or ‘fruit flavoured’, the health risk is great, so don’t be fooled by slick advertising or attractive packaging,” explains Herbst.
Steps to Prevent Tobacco Industry Exploiting Youth
According to WHO, hard-hitting anti-tobacco advertisements and graphic package warnings – especially those that include pictures – reduce the number of children who begin smoking and increase the number of smokers who quit.
Research shows that higher taxes are especially effective in reducing tobacco use among lower-income groups and in preventing young people from starting to smoke. A tax increase that increases tobacco prices by 10% decreases tobacco consumption by about 4% in high-income countries and by up to 8% in most low- and middle-income countries.
Hubbly Bubbly, Waterpipes or Hookahs are More Dangerous
CANSA warns of the increased use of water pipes, hubbly bubbly or hookah-smoking amongst young people as it’s especially bad because their lungs are still growing and smoking can cause permanent damage. Read more…
Herbst states, “In South Africa, water pipes and related tobacco products, fall under the definition of ‘tobacco product’ in the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act (2007). This means that their use and sale have to comply with the regulations that apply to any tobacco product in the country, including the prohibition of the sale of hookahs and their products to anyone under the age of eighteen.”
Know the Law – It’s Your Right to a Smoke-free World
Every person should be able to breathe tobacco-smoke-free air. Smoke-free laws protect the health of non-smokers, are popular, do not harm business and encourage smokers to quit.
In the Government Gazette of 21 August 2009, Parliament proclaimed that two Acts which amend South Africa’s tobacco control laws are now in operation. The Acts were passed by Parliament in 2007 and 2008.
Key points in the latest amendments are:
- Adults may not smoke in a car when a passenger under 12 years is present
- Smoking is not allowed in premises (including private homes) used for commercial childcare activities such as crèches, or for schooling or tutoring)
- No person under 18 may be allowed into a designated smoking area
- No smoking in partially enclosed public places such as balconies, covered patios, verandas, walkways, parking areas, etc.
- The fine for the owner of a restaurant, pub, bar or workplace that breaks the smoking law is a maximum of R50 000 and for the individual smoker – R500
- The tobacco industry can no longer use ‘viral’ marketing like parties to target young people
- The law states that no person shall sell or supply any tobacco product to any person under the age of 18 years
- Cigarette vending machines that sell tobacco products cannot be used to sell other products like crisps, chocolates etc.
Quitting with CANSA’s eKick Butt Programme
CANSA can help people addicted to tobacco with its eKick Butt Programme – a unique online smoking cessation programme – at no charge. Through a series of emails, surveys and downloads, the smoker is guided and mentored as they quit smoking and non-smoking becomes a lifelong habit, not merely the time interval between two cigarettes.
The programme supplies a series of handy tools – tried and tested – to help quit for good!
Join Social Media Discussions
Join social media discussions by using the hashtag #NoTobaccoDay and follow CANSA on Twitter: @CANSA or like CANSA on Facebook: CANSA The Cancer Association of South Africa