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Information campaigns are an effective tool to warn young people about the dangers of electronic smoking devices. KIIS research

On March 31, 2021, on the "Ukrinform" online platform a press event organized by the NGO "Life" took place, where were presented the results of the KIIS survey on the effectiveness of the information campaign "Safe smoking does not exist", as well as awareness of young people about the risks of using electronic smoking devices[1].

During November 2020 - January 2021, the NGO "Life" together with the Center for Public Health conducted a national information campaign "Safe smoking does not exist" with the support of the Global Health Organization «Vital Strategies»[2]. Social videos aimed at raising young people's awareness of the health risks of using electronic smoking devices were broadcast on television, on the Internet, on screens in the subway and at train stations. Residents of the capital also saw social advertising on the city streets. The total coverage of the campaign is about 25 million people[3].

Kyiv International Institute of Sociology in cooperation with the NGO "Center "Social Indicators" conducted among the residents of Ukraine aged 18-30 years two stages of the research: before (in November 2020) and after (in January 2021) the information campaign "Safe smoking does not exist". The research showed that it really affected the respondents.

"Information campaigns against electronic tobacco devices are working. Almost 50% of smokers, who remembered the advertisement, thought about quitting, and 80% of non-smokers believe that it encourages them not to start smoking. The Center for Public Health will continue to conduct such information campaigns together with partners and NGOs", commented on the results of the survey Vladyslav Zbanatskyi, Deputy Director General of the Center for Public Health.

The results of the survey also showed how serious the influence of the tobacco industry is on the formation of public opinion on the use of ESD. Amid the declining prestige of smoking, the tobacco industry is finding new ways to once again turn a pernicious addiction into a trend through manipulative approaches and space marketing costs - for example, in the US, tobacco companies spend $ 23 million daily! Obviously, that new electronic gadgets are nothing more than an attempt to change the very concept of smoking to take it to a new level in the context of technological progress. Tobacco companies are literally going over the heads, cleverly circumventing the legal norms. As a result, the use of electronic smoking devices is increasing, especially among young people. Tobacco manufacturers, through manipulative aggressive marketing, have been able to mislead young people about the risks of using e-cigarettes and electric heating tobacco products. This is evidenced by the poll results.

"Almost half of the respondents believe that electronic smoking devices are less harmful, than cigarettes, and 37% - that these devices help people quit smoking ordinary cigarettes", — noted Oleksandr Shcherbatiuk, researcher, project coordinator at the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology.

However, according to WHO reports, published in 2020, there is no reliable data that electronic smoking devices are less harmful than ordinary cigarettes. The WHO also does not recommend the use of ESD when smoking cessation.

 

"In order to really influence the change in knowledge, attitudes and behavior of the population to the use of tobacco products, it is necessary to ensure the constant presence of the necessary information in the media space. In particular, to conduct national anti-tobacco campaigns with state support at least twice a year, as well as to strengthen anti-tobacco legislation", — noted Liliia Olefir, Executive Director of the NGO "Life".

Accordingly, media campaigns are the most cost-effective way to change social norms and attitudes towards tobacco and are a fundamental part of a comprehensive tobacco control strategy. Such communication should be strengthened through the introduction of effective non-cost tobacco control measures to protect children and young people from engaging in smoking. And such changes are proposed by the bill 4358 "On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine on Public Health Protection from the Harmful Effects of Tobacco". The document is comprehensive, based on world best practices in smoking control and meets international standards, in particular, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

In particular, it offers:

  • legislative regulation of tobacco devices for electric heating and e-cigarettes on a par with classic tobacco products;
  • ban on advertising, sales promotion and sponsorship of ESD;
  • ban on smoking ESD in public places;
  • introduction of effective medical warnings and proper labeling for ESD;
  • ban on tobacco products with flavorings.

Bill 4358 in the long run will help save thousands of lives from premature death - while the implementation of its provisions does not require any expenditures from the State budget.

Materials of the information social campaign "Safe smoking does not exist" are available for free distribution with a mandatory link to the Center for Public Health and the NGO "Life".

For reference

The WHO emphasizes that smokers have a higher risk of becoming infected with COVID-19, as well as a higher risk of complications and death from the disease. Instead, smoking cessation improves lung function, cardiovascular function, and immunity, giving you a better chance of fighting severe infections such as COVID-19.

For contact information: Dmytro Polonskyi, media coordinator of the NGO "Life, 063 344 12 69, dmytro.p@center-life.org 

 


[1] Electronic smoking devices (ESDs) are electronic cigarettes and tobacco products for heating.

[2] Vital Strategies is a global healthcare organization that believes that everyone should be protected by a strong healthcare system. The organization works with governments and civil society in 73 countries to develop and implement evidence-based strategies that address the most pressing health issues. The organization's goal is for governments to take forward-scale actions as soon as possible. www.vitalstrategies.org

[3] Estimated data with possible error 20%.

 


1.4.2021
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