World No Tobacco Day 31 May 2020
For decades, the tobacco industry has deliberately employed strategic, aggressive and well-resourced tactics to attract youth to tobacco and nicotine products. Internal industry documents reveal in-depth research and calculated approaches designed to attract a new generation of tobacco users, from product design to marketing campaigns aimed at replacing the millions of people who die each year from tobacco-attributable diseases with new consumers – youth.
How are tobacco and related industries manipulating youth?
- Use of flavours that are attractive to youth in tobacco and nicotine products, like cherry, bubble gum and cotton candy, which encourages young people to underestimate the related health risks and to start using them.
- Sleek designs and attractive products, which can also be easy to carry and are deceptive (e.g. products shaped like a USB stick or candy).
- Promotion of products as “reduced harm” or “cleaner” alternatives to conventional cigarettes in the absence of objective science substantiating these claims.
- Celebrity/influencer sponsorships and brand sponsored contests to promote tobacco and nicotine products (e.g. Instagram influencers).
- Point-of-sale marketing at vendor outlets frequented by children, including positioning near sweets, snacks or soda and providing premiums for vendors to ensure their products are displayed near venues frequented by young people (includes providing marketing materials and display cases to retailers).
- Sale of single stick cigarettes and other tobacco and nicotine products near schools, which makes it cheap and easy for school children to access tobacco and nicotine products.
- Indirect marketing of tobacco products in movies, TV shows and online streaming shows.
- Tobacco vending machines at venues frequented by young people, covered in attractive advertising and pack displays, and undermining regulations on sales to minors.
- Litigation to weaken all kinds of tobacco control regulations including warning labels, display at point of sale, and regulations that limit access and marketing to children (specifically provisions to ban the sale and advertising of tobacco products near schools).
The world cannot afford another generation deceived by the lies of the tobacco industry, which pretends to promote freedom of personal choice while really ensuring eternal profits – regardless of the millions of people that pay with their life each year. (source: who.int)
Not only this, cigarettes are very bad for environment too. Thousands of smokers don't think twice about leaving a trail of cigarette litter behind them. The core of most cigarette filters, the part that looks like white cotton, is actually a form of plastic called cellulose acetate. By itself, cellulose acetate is very slow to degrade in our environment. Depending on the conditions of the area the cigarette butt is discarded in, it can take 18 months to 10 years for a cigarette filter to decompose.
Used cigarette filters are full of toxins, which can leach into the ground and waterways, damaging living organisms that come into contact with them.
Most filters are discarded with bits of tobacco still attached to them as well, further polluting our environment with nicotine, which is poisonous. Toxin-filled cigarette butts work their way into our waterways primarily through storm drains that dump into streams and lakes. Studies conducted by Clean Virginia Waterways have shown that just one cigarette butt in approximately two gallons of water is lethal to water fleas, a tiny crustacean found in freshwater and saltwater. And those tiny bits of tobacco left attached to cigarette filters carry more toxins than the filters do themselves. Cigarette filters are a threat to wildlife that could ingest them, mistaking filters for food, and to small children, who may eat them if they're within reach.
Discarded cigarette butts also pose a significant threat to our environment in terms of fire. Every year, forest fires ravage vast areas, killing off wildlife and vegetation that take years to return. It's estimated that trillions of filters, filled with toxic chemicals from tobacco smoke, make their way into our environment as discarded waste yearly.
Everything—absolutely everything—about cigarettes threatens life on our beloved planet. They pollute the ground we walk on and the air we breathe. And if we smoke, cigarettes poison us slowly, stealing our quality of life long before they kill us. If you're a smoker thinking about quitting, take steps today to put that last cigarette out and start a new chapter in your life.
While still smoking outdoor, you can use our silicone food bags as ashtray to avoid throwing away your cigarette ash and butts. Say Yes to Life, Earth Thanks! 🌿