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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2992

Protecting youth from tobacco industry manipulation

By Manjari Peiris

We know well that the tobacco industry is increasingly targeting youth and children as an emerging and vulnerable market for its addictive products. Thus this is a pressing issue and challenge for tobacco control policy makers in every country. As such with this situation, I believe the theme for this year's World No Tobacco Day being "Protecting youth from tobacco industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use" is quite appropriate.", said the Chairman of the National Authority on Tobacco & Alcohol (NATA), Dr. Samadhi Rajapaksa.

The tobacco industry is well aware that a person who starts smoking before their early 20s is not only more likely to develop an addiction, but may also have an impaired ability to exercise control over smoking later in life. The tobacco industry deliberately sells a lethal dependency to young people, and with youth protection as the core theme of World No Tobacco Day 2020 enables us to counter their efforts.

Dr. Rajapaksa added, "Some of the factors that are associated with youth tobacco use are, lower income or education, lack of support or involvement from parents, accessibility, availability, and

low price of tobacco products, low self-image, seeing tobacco advertisements either direct or indirect, mass media influence, and availability of single stick cigarettes for sale which increases their affordability to purchase cigarettes."

The severe adverse impact of exposure to tobacco smoke on children was brought to light by the World Health Organization (WHO) in a report dedicated to tobacco and the rights of the child. WHO stresses that there is no safe level of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and that the negative effect of exposure on children is two-fold. One exposure to tobacco smoke may seriously harm the health of a child. Second it may drive a child to later engage in smoking behaviour and some children start to smoke as early as 11 years.

The National Authority on Tobacco & Alcohol (NATA) is the focal point for tobacco and alcohol control in Sri Lanka. "As the new Chairman of NATA, during my tenure I expect to take measures to save our children and youth from this menace." he said.

Stay Safe, Stay at Home, Stay Informed, But Don't Forget to Wash Your Hands.

- Asian Tribune -

Dr. Samadhi Rajapaksa
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