🔥 Premium AI-powered Stock Picks from InvestingPro Now up to 50% OffCLAIM SALE

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

Published 05/23/2024, 02:41 PM
Updated 05/23/2024, 06:52 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A woman holds an e-cigarette as she vapes on a street in Manchester, Britain March 6, 2024. REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja

LONDON (Reuters) -Tobacco companies still actively target young people via social media, sports and music festivals and new, flavoured 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 flavours 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 flavours like bubblegum as one driver of this rise. The industry says flavours are an important tool in encouraging adults to switch away from smoking.

Large tobacco companies have mostly steered away from such flavours. But firms including Philip Morris International (NYSE:PM) and British American Tobacco (NYSE:BTI) 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 (LON:BATS) 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.

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

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".

Latest comments

Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.
© 2007-2024 - Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.