The WHO recommended prohibiting the consumption of cigarettes and vaping in educational centers to protect the health of children and adolescents

Image of a teacher and student watching a work against cigarettes. WHO / MALIN BRING (WHO / MALIN BRING/)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended banning smoking and vaping in educational centers, as well as banning the sale of nicotine and tobacco products near schools with the aim of helping protect the health of children and adolescents.

Through two new publications, ‘Freedom from tobacco and nicotine: a guide for schools’ and ‘School tool kit without nicotine or tobacco’the WHO has highlighted a series of guidelines to keep tobacco away from young people.

As reported by the WHO, the tobacco industry “relentlessly attacks young people with tobacco and nicotine products”, causing the use of electronic cigarettes to increase and 9 out of 10 smokers to start smoking before the age of 18.

Additionally, “products have also been made more affordable to young people through the sale of single-use cigarettes and e-cigarettes, which typically lack health warnings.”

A young man vaping.  REUTERS/Carl Recine
A young man vaping. REUTERS/Carl Recine (CARL RECINE/)

In this sense, the WHO has reported that last month, US regulators warned companies to stop selling illegal electronic cigarettes that attract young people by resembling school supplies, cartoon characters and even teddy bears.

“Whether sitting in class, playing outside, or waiting at the school bus stop, we must protect young people from deadly secondhand smoke and toxic emissions from e-cigarettes, as well as from advertisements promoting these products,” said the Director of Health Promotion of the World Health Organization, Ruediger Krech.

The new guide and toolkit are Step-by-step guides for schools to create nicotine- and tobacco-free environmentsbut “a whole-school approach is needed,” which includes teachers, staff, students, parents, as well as topics on how to support students to quit smoking, educational campaigns, implementation of policies and how to enforce them.

The guide also highlights prohibit direct and indirect advertising and promotion of nicotine and tobacco products near schools; as well as rejecting sponsorship or engagement with the tobacco and nicotine industries.

Benefits of quitting smoking (Getty)
The new guide and toolkit are step-by-step manuals for schools to create nicotine- and tobacco-free environments. (Getty) (Alvaro Medina Jurado/)

The publication highlighted that countries around the world have successfully implemented policies that support tobacco- and nicotine-free campuses, including: India, Indonesia, Ireland, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Qatar, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine.

However, the WHO considers that there is little application of anti-smoking laws. As he explains, although in many countries smoking is prohibited in educational centers, “the laxity of the regulations and the difficulties in enforcing them can make tobacco and nicotine consumption more accessible for students.”

According to the WHO, nicotine- and tobacco-free policies help prevent young people from starting to smoke; create a healthier and more productive student body; protect youth from the toxic chemicals in secondhand smoke; reduce cigarette waste; and reduce cleaning costs.

To protect people’s health, WHO encourages all countries to make all indoor public places completely smoke-free, in accordance with Article 8 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

(with information from EP)