“Child Labour in New Packaging” - How A Non Smoking Generation Reaches Young People in Sweden with Global Knowledge
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A Non Smoking Generation, Sweden
Young Leader, NCD Child, Centre for Global Child Health, Ontario, Canada
Publication date: 2023-04-25
Corresponding author
Helen Stjerna   

A Non Smoking Generation, Sweden
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2023;9(Supplement):A134
Tobacco counteracts all of the UN's seventeen global sustainability goals, and child labour is common in tobacco farming, which has been known for a long time. The tobacco industry has an enormous environmental impact. Deforestation and poisoned soils are examples of how tobacco cultivation affects the environment. Despite these facts, knowledge about this among the Swedish population is low, and school education about tobacco needs to be improved. Nine out of ten tobacco users in Sweden start in their teens or earlier. Therefore, tobacco prevention projects are vital to support children and young people to remain tobacco-free. The school is particularly critical since this is where children and young people spend much of their time. Since 2013, we have been running a project called “Tobacco Children” with the support of the Swedish Development Cooperation Agency. The project mainly consists of a lecture tour to increase awareness and knowledge of the tobacco industry's far-reaching global consequences, such as child labour, poverty, inequality and environmental destruction. The learning from the lecture creates engagement and motivation to strengthen the choice to refrain from tobacco consumption. The lecture is called “Child Labour in new packaging” and gives Sweden's young people insight into the tobacco industry's global tactics. The primary topics the project deals with are poverty, child labour, equality, environmental impact and Agenda 2030. There is a considerable lack of knowledge regarding the harmful effects of the tobacco industry on reaching global goals for sustainable development. As the title implies, the lecture also aims to raise awareness about the novel tobacco products’ health risks and their impact on sustainable development. It’s important to stress that all new nicotine products are produced from the same tobacco leaves as conventional cigarettes. There´s also an emerging problem with the waste from many novel products like puff bars or vape-to-go products that contain not only plastics and toxic nicotine but also electronic parts and batteries. Our project has been a successful communication and information project to reach young people and the general public with new knowledge about global injustices and sustainability issues. The project's primary purpose is to spread knowledge and engage young people about how tobacco production in low- and middle-income countries hinders sustainable global development. With this knowledge, the aim is to give young people more arguments to say no to tobacco. Contrary to what many believe, tobacco consumption (cigarettes, e-cigarettes and snus) in Sweden is high among young people. We are one of the few Swedish civil society stakeholders that sheds light on this huge issue, despite the extent of the problem. With increased knowledge and engagement - children, young people and the general public can make active and aware choices not to support an industry that hinders fair and sustainable development. During the fall of 2021, approximately 97% of students surveyed stated that the lecture contained arguments for abstaining from tobacco. It shows that our project makes a difference. 94.4% responded that they gained increased knowledge about how the tobacco industry affects global sustainable development and 95.4% that the lecture was thought-provoking. These figures show that there needs to be more societal awareness about the global effects of tobacco in tobacco prevention.
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