Big Tobacco Tiny Targets: Tobacco Industry is Marketing Deadly Product to Kids in Ukraine

On October 26 2016, Advocacy Center LIFE conducted a press conference to expose tobacco industry’s marketing tactics targeting children.
The press conference was conducted in the Ukrainian Humanitarian Lyceum. And included speeches by Children’s Ombudsmen Mykola Kuleba, Member of Parliament Ihor Lutsenko, Director of the HealthRights International in Ukraine Halyna Skipalska, Head of the Tobacco Control Unit of the Ukrainian Institute of Strategic Research, Ministry of Health Dr. Konstantin Krasovsky, Coordinator of “Big Tobacco. Tiny Targets” Project, Advocacy Center LIFE Kateryna Rymarenko and Lawyer, Center of Democracy and Rule of Law Petro Korol.
Tobacco companies see kids as future clients. That is why numerous marketing campaigns target them directly. According to one tobacco company: “Today’s teenager is tomorrow’s potential regular customer, and the overwhelming majority of smokers first begin to smoke while still in their teens.”
“We have to take care of our children and to make sure that kids grow up in an environment without both tobacco smoke and tobacco advertising. After all, the main duty of the state is to protect our children. It is important that children do not get hooked by tobacco companies, so adults should be an example,” said Mykola Kuleba Children’s Ombudsmen.
In July 2016 Ukraine joined the global campaign «Big Tobacco. Tiny Targets». The research was led by the Institute for Global Tobacco Control at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Advocacy Center LIFE. 102 schools were monitored within a 250-meter radius.
81,7% (376 out of 460 points of sale) of supermarkets, convenience stores, kiosks and mobile vendors sold tobacco products and 96% of them used aggressive marketing display, such as: displayed tobacco products in or near the cashier zone and next to sweets, snacks, or so, at the eye level of children and with the use of lights. 55% of points of sale were advertising tobacco to kids with oversized packs, illuminated advertisement and promotion of flavored cigarettes. E-cigarette marketing, sale of single cigarettes, displays visible from outside the point of sale, displays using lights, any advertising signage, no visible age restriction sign were the other common tobacco tactics observed in Kyiv. Displayed tobacco products near sweets, snacks, or soda as well as lighted displays and last but not least tobaccos marketing, which is visible from outside of the points of sale are the most common strategies applied by tobacco industry to influence the kids’ perception all over the world. By this means tobacco is presented as a socially accepted product.
The state should create certain conditions to protect public health. The two draft laws #4030a and #2820 are aiming to protect children and youth from tobacco marketing and significantly reduce the attractiveness and accessibility of cigarettes,” stated Igor Lutsenko MP, co-author of the draft laws.
Every fifth boy and every tenth girl reported having their first cigarette by the age of 11 years and after turning 15 some of them become daily smokers, according to ESPAD Report 2015. Even though, smoking prevalence among teens aged between 15 and 17 years has decreased from 20,1% in 2010 to 12,2% in 2015. However, tobacco marketing at the point of sale near schools still encourages adolescent smoking in Ukraine.
Ukraine has made a tremendous progress in terms of implementing different tobacco control measures. Among them have been a ban on tobacco advertising, sponsorship and promotion, a comprehensive ban for smoking in all indoor places including the hospitality industry, annual tobacco tax increases and graphic health warnings on cigarette packs. Our next step is to limit the tobacco accessibility particularly for children. Hence, the adoption of the display ban and implementation of Articles 9, 10, 11 and its Guidelines of the WHO FCTC into Ukrainian legislationare crucial for countering the tobacco industry marketing of deadly products to children,” concluded Andriy Skipalskyi Chairman of the Advocacy Center LIFE.
Additional materials: 1.     Big Tobacco. Tiny Targets: Pictures, Kyiv Ukraine
Media Requests: For further comment, please contact Oksana Advocacy Center LIFE Kyiv, Ukraine
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