Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

Tobacco and the rights of the child

This report was released by WHO to encourage countries to abide by the terms of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by taking necessary legislative and regulatory measures to protect children from tobacco, and ensure that the interests of children take precedence over those of the tobacco industry.

In addition to the harmful effects caused by direct use of tobacco, children are also exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke. Nearly 700 million, or almost half of the world’s children, breathe air polluted by second-hand smoke, according to the report. In almost all cases, they have no choice in the matter, as they are unable to protest or protect themselves. The report also deals with the issues of child labour. Tobacco companies have been implicated in child labour in the major tobacco producing countries such as Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Malawi, the USA and Zimbabwe.

There is overwhelming scientific evidence for the harmful impact of tobacco use and second-hand smoke on child health, as well as wide documentation on the targeting of children by tobacco companies. Comprehensive tobacco control is not only a valid concern falling within the legislative competence of governments, but also an obligation under the Convention, according to the report.

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