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A woman holds an e-cigarette as she vapes on a street in Manchester
FILE PHOTO: A woman holds an e-cigarette as she vapes on a street in Manchester, Britain March 6, 2024. REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja Image: Reuters/Temilade Adelaja
world

Tobacco industry aims to hook new generation on vapes, WHO says

7 Comments

Tobacco companies still actively target young people via social media, sports and music festivals and new, flavored products, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday, accusing companies of trying to hook a new generation on nicotine.

Amid ever-stricter regulation targeting cigarettes, big tobacco companies and new entrants have begun offering smoking alternatives such as vapes, which they say are aimed at adult smokers.

But the WHO and industry watchdog STOP said in a joint report these products are often marketed to youth, their design and fruity flavors appeal to children and young people are more likely to use them than adults in many countries.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO's director-general, rejected the industry's claim that it is working to reduce the harm from smoking. "It's dishonest to talk about harm reduction when they are marketing to children," he said in the report.

The WHO's increasingly tough stance on newer nicotine products follows a sharp rise in youth vaping across several countries.

The WHO pointed to flavors like bubblegum as one driver of this rise. The industry says flavors are an important tool in encouraging adults to switch away from smoking.

Large tobacco companies have mostly steered away from such flavors. But firms including Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco target youth via the sponsorship of music and sports festivals and the use of social media, the WHO said.

These provide platforms to promote their brands to younger audiences and hand out free samples, it continued.

Both companies said they aimed to move smokers away from cigarettes. BAT added that it follows principles for responsible marketing and ensuring its products were for adults only.

PMI said scientifically substantiated smoking alternatives must be part of sound tobacco policy and it was ready to engage with any government and the WHO on the issue.

The WHO said there is insufficient evidence vapes help people quit smoking. The body said there is evidence that vaping increases traditional cigarette use, especially among youth.

However, Sarah Jackson, principal research fellow at University College London's Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group, said these statements "do not accurately reflect current evidence on e-cigarettes".

© Thomson Reuters 2024.

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

7 Comments
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Nicotine is certainly addictive but is it any worse for health than other addictive substances like sugar or caffeine?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It was inevitable really. The tobacco companies had so much power and wealth and they were not going to go down without a fight. I really hope in my lifetime they disappear completely. Sponsorship of sports was taken away (to be replaced with betting companies, ugh!), so they pivoted to marketing to youth. Awful, awful, awful.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Only the Weak and Vulnerable will fall into their traps and these tobacco makers knows it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

proxy

Nicotine is certainly addictive but is it any worse for health than other addictive substances like sugar or caffeine?

Definitely not. Of the ones you mention, sugar is the most destructive.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Negative Nancy

It was inevitable really. The tobacco companies had so much power and wealth and they were not going to go down without a fight. 

The tobacco companies are not going anywhere. As long as there is demand, they will be there to meet it, no matter how much you tax and restrict them. And people like to get a buzz from relatively harmless addictive substances like nicotine and caffeine. If you really want to get me angry, try to take my morning coffee away from me.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Nicotine is certainly addictive but is it any worse for health than other addictive substances like sugar or caffeine?

How much importance do you think caffeine has in public health? As long as there is a level where a substance can be used without an appreciable increase of risk for the health of the person then it is definitely not as dangerous as a product where the risk increases not matter how little you use. And let's not forget about secondhand and thirdhand smoke related risks.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The liquid in Vapes turns into a gas which turns back into a sticky liquid in the lungs clogging them up.

A most destructive product…

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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