An end game scenario for young people? Still yet to come
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Observatoire de la santé, Province de Hainaut, Belgium
Publication date: 2023-10-08
Corresponding author
Pierre Gilbert Bizel   

Observatoire de la santé, Province de Hainaut, Belgium
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2023;9(Supplement 2):A3
The presentation is based on: - the evolution of tobacco prevalence and control measures among young people from 1997 to 2020. - the objectives of the main upcoming measures of the Belgian inter-federal strategy for 2022-2028. Taking into account the persistent strong social gradient, it will be discuss recommendations towards young people.

In Belgium, much of the reduction in the prevalence of tobacco use in young people can be attributed to general long-term policies, most of them adopted during the last twenty years at the federal and regional levels such as : - legal measures : • smoking ban in schools, indoor public places, cars when a minor is present , • advertising ban, neutral packaging, • gradual increase in taxation; - adoption of health promotion policies encouraging protective factors related to addiction. A legal and social process to denormalize tobacco use has been implemented and produced results in particular for young people.

Recurrent surveys on teenagers 10 -17 yrs from the Health Observatory of Hainaut (HOH,CSSV network) since 1997 report significant progress towards a smoke-free generation. For example, although the province of Hainaut has a disadvantaged context compared to other Belgian provinces, current smoking prevalence fell to 7.0% in 2020 (age 16) compared to 30% in 1997. Moreover, these progresses are not equally distributed among socio-economic groups: In 2020, current smoking prevalence among 15-17 yrs old was 12.5% among professional training school , against 2,9% for general education.

New measures included in the inter-federal plan could be the tool to reach an end-game. Among them : smoking ban on railway station platform, prohibition at external entrances to schools, display ban and reduction of sale points, pouches ban, puffbars ban, automat display ban, increase in taxes ; etc. ... Particular attention should be paid to ensure that young people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds can benefit from these positive developments.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
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