In a world where the health of our younger population is constantly evolving, it’s heartening to witness decisive action from prominent organizations in healthcare. Yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) showcased its dedication to this cause with the release of two transformative publications: “Freedom from tobacco and nicotine: guide for schools” and “Nicotine- and tobacco-free school toolkit”. For all stakeholders in the healthcare industry, such initiatives point towards a brighter future, where collective efforts are paving the way for a healthier next generation.
According to these studies, nine out of every ten smokers take up the habit before they turn 18. Dr. Ruediger Krech, Director of Health Promotion at WHO, underscored the urgency of the matter, saying, “Whether sitting in class, playing games outside, or waiting at the school bus stop, we must protect young people from deadly second-hand smoke and toxic e-cigarette emissions as well as ads promoting these products.”
Four pivotal strategies outlined by WHO guide schools in building a protective shield for their students:
- An outright ban on nicotine and tobacco products within school premises.
- Prohibiting the sale of these harmful products in proximity to schools.
- Ensuring that direct and indirect advertisements promoting these products are kept at bay.
- An unequivocal refusal to partner or accept sponsorship from the tobacco and nicotine industries.
The WHO’s clear call to nations to align with Article 8 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control – making all indoor public places completely smoke-free – should resonate with everyone in society. It’s not just a matter of policy; it’s about sculpting a future where our children can breathe free and live healthier lives.