Special Edition
30 May 2024
World No Tobacco Day
The Member States of the World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes. World No Tobacco Day is celebrated every year on May 31. This year’s edition “Protecting the youth from tobacco industry interference” serves as a platform for young people around the world to advocate for government action against predatory tobacco marketing tactics. This industry targets young people, maintaining a cycle of addiction aimed at securing long-term profits. Alarming statistics reveal that children are increasingly turning to e-cigarettes, exceeding adult usage rates in all regions. Worldwide, an estimated 37 million young people between the ages of 13 and 15 use tobacco products.
The situation in Europe is no near better, according to the WHO European Region, 11.5% of boys and 10.1% of girls aged 13–15 years are tobacco users. With regards to new product alternatives, more than 30% of 15-year-olds had used electronic cigarettes during their lifetime and 20% had used them on a regular basis. 
Champions of the tobacco-free future in Europe
World No Tobacco Day offers an opportunity for WHO to recognize and commend these achievements while raising awareness and building support for tobacco control measures globally. Each year, WHO presents awards to organizations and individuals who promote and enforce tobacco control in the Region. WHO carefully selects the awardees in recognition of their long-term commitment and outstanding contribution to research, advocacy, health promotion, and capacity-building in these areas. 


WHO has announced the winners of the 2024 WNTD Awards, celebrating the achievements of 8 inspiring individuals and organizations from across the European Region. ENSP applauds these pioneers for their exceptional commitment and creativity in tobacco control in Europe. We are proud to announce that three out of the eight European awards have been granted to outstanding members of the network 

  1. Charlotta Pisinger, University of Southern Denmark, Kingdom of Denmark, is a renowned public health expert and researcher specializing in tobacco control and smoking cessation. She is recognized for her significant contributions in this field thanks to her in-depth research into the health effects of smoking, exposure to passive smoking and the effectiveness of different smoking cessation methods. She is currently researching the development of better forms of smoking cessation and nicotine withdrawal services for young people, cancer patients and people with mental health problems.
  2. Mervi Hara, Executive Director of ASH Finland, has been at the forefront of the Finnish tobacco control movement for over 30 years, playing a key role in promoting the vision of a future without tobacco and nicotine. Her leadership has been instrumental in shaping national tobacco control policies, from raising the legal age for the purchase of tobacco products to the introduction of smoke-free playgrounds. Her unwavering commitment and strategic thinking have made her a central figure in the fight for a tobacco and nicotine-free Finland, and her influence extends far beyond national borders.
  3. The non-governmental organization "A Non Smoking Generation" 
  4. A Non Smoking Generation General Secretary, Helen Stjerna: the Swedish NGO and ENSP member has made a significant impact with its "Tobacco Children" educational program. This innovative project makes young people aware of the far-reaching consequences of smoking, not only for their health, but also for the environment and global issues such as child labor, poverty and inequality. Aware of the growing popularity of new nicotine-based products, Ms Stjerna has become a strong advocate of regulating these products to prevent them from leading to nicotine addiction among young people.
  5. Ministry of Health, Ukraine: Its initiatives include legislative advocacy, enforcement and research, embodying a comprehensive approach to tobacco control. Recent initiatives include the use of graphic health warnings on cigarette packaging, an information campaign to promote the banning of point-of-sale displays of tobacco products, and support for the implementation of the third cycle of the Global Youth Tobacco Survey.
  6. Lviv Oblast Centre for Disease Control and Prevention - leads anti-smoking efforts in educational institutions. It has established itself as a dedicated leader in the implementation of tobacco control policies at the sub-national level, making a significant contribution to protecting children from smoking and exposure to passive smoking. 
  7. Dr Raouf Alebshehy, editor-in-chief of “Tobacco Tactics”: Dr. Raouf Alebshehy is a prominent figure in tobacco control, focusing on the tobacco industry's manipulative tactics and interference. His research has significantly influenced tobacco control policies, integrating the WHO FCTC into the "Smoke-Free Wales" strategy. As an expert advisor on the EU's tobacco control legislative framework and a contributor to the University of Bath's Tobacco Industry Watch and STOP initiatives, he supports global efforts against tobacco industry interference. Leading the University of Bath's Tobacco Tactics platform, he researches reducing tobacco supply by regulating retail outlets near schools. Additionally, he heads the Tobacco Industry Surveillance Research and Accountability Course, training 50 advocates annually in effective tobacco control.
  8. Dr Francisco Rodríguez Lozano, Chairman of the Board, Cancer Patients Europe: Past ENSP President, Dr Francisco Lozano has devoted more than 20 years of his professional career to promoting smoking prevention efforts, with particular emphasis on protecting young people from the dangers of industry manipulation. Moreover, he has chaired Spain's National Smoking Prevention Committee and the ENSP Network, demonstrating excellent leadership abilities. Recently, he successfully led awareness campaigns against the tobacco industry's misleading promotions in the Canary Islands, an initiative that underlines his dedication to protecting public health.
WNTD Award Ceremony in Copenhagen

This year, the WHO WNTD Award Ceremony has been carried out in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 23 May, where the awardees have gathered at the WHO Regional Office for Europe to mark a milestone in tobacco control. Co-organised by ENSP and Smoke Free Partnership, this event aimed at acknowledging these champions and offers a platform for fruitful discussions, hearing their personal stories towards success.


“Most smokers express regret, saying, “I wish I had never started”. The tobacco industry employs devious tactics to attract young people to highly addicted nicotine and tobacco products, which kills millions globally. These products wreak havoc on economic stability, deplete the Earth’s resources and pollute our environment.”

(Dr Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe)


The opening remarks provided by Dr Hans Kluge have set the scene for the meeting “Targeting Tomorrow: how Big Tobacco Manipulates Youth for Profit”, where ENSPnext has been present in the first panel focused on discussing ways to empower youth, resist tobacco industry influence, and methods to better amplify voices, a panel moderated by ENSP Secretary General and SFP Director.

“The focus on youth is central to our efforts. Children and young people are not merely passive bystanders but active participants in shaping a healthier tomorrow. Empowering youth with knowledge, resilience, and critical thinking helps them to reject harmful products.
(Dr Gauden Galea - Strategic Adviser to the WHO Europe Regional Director,  in his opening remarks)
Protecting children from the
Tobacco Industry's interference
For decades, the tobacco industry has faced declining sales rates in developed countries due to increased public awareness of the health risks associated with smoking. To preserve their billions of dollars in revenue, the tobacco industry must replace the millions of customers who die or quit smoking every year, leading them to aggressively target new markets, particularly youth
To achieve this goal, the industry created an environment that encourages the adoption of its products by the next generations. In order to attain their purpose, they developed diverse strategies such as promoting lax regulations, exploiting regulatory loopholes, targeting the youth through social media platforms, promoting new products, highlighting the variety of flavors and developing a harmless/ attractive design for their products. 
For this reason, in a joint press releaseEuropean scientific, healthcare professional, and other civil society organisations have come together to call for an EU Endgame on Tobacco. Noting the official pledge by the European Commission in 2021 to help deliver a tobacco free generation, the European Respiratory Society, the European Cancer Organisation, the European Society for Medical Oncology, the ENSP, Smoke Free Partnership, the European Lung Foundation, the European Society of Cardiology, Lungs Europe and Lung Cancer Europe jointly call for an acceleration of policy action to make the achievement of that vision a reality.
For youth, by youth
WNTD 2024 aims to amplify young voices calling on governments to protect them from aggressive tobacco marketing. The industry targets youth to ensure lifelong customers, leading to rising addiction rates. On the occasion of World No Tobacco Day, global youth have been mobilized in a series of actions having one goal: raising their voice and urging the population to take action against the industry.
On May 23, ENSPnext participated in the webinar “Global Youth's Voice: Hear Our Stories: Empower, Protect, Unite: Stopping the Lies, Shielding Our Youth”, organized by the WHO FCTC Knowledge Hubs for Article 5.3 in Thailand, the WHO FCTC Knowledge Hub for Public Awareness in France(in relation to Article 12), where youth representatives from around the world coming together to voice their concerns about the impact of tobacco industry interference. 
On May 25, the Global Youth Voices (GYV), convened by the GGTC, has added another feather to its cap of advocacy efforts with a powerful declaration. See the highlights from the recently concluded Virtual Summit.

During the Summit, experts discussed the tobacco industry's impact on youth and the environment, including strategies to resist the industry's influence. They also expressed support for the GYV and its goal of achieving a tobacco-free future. The main outcome of the summit has been the GYV Declaration adopted by all participants.

The declaration has broken grounds in youth-initiated calls to action by adopting a comprehensive, multifaceted human rights approach. It demands accountability from the tobacco industry for manipulating and addicting youth, and causing health and environmental harms. The declaration provides specific recommendations for governments and calls for the support of educational institutions, international organizations including the United Nations, and media outlets.
Join the movement to end tobacco
Stand united to celebrate World No Tobacco Day and contribute to ending the harmful impacts of tobacco on individuals, communities, and the environment! Here are some key resources, events and actions that you can undertake immediately to make a difference.
Webinar: How will Europe Achieve its First Tobacco Free Generation?  
31 May 2024 | 10:30 – 12:00 CET
Explore the evolving landscape of tobacco control as we navigate through legislative challenges and industry-driven ‘harm reduction’ approaches. To mark World No Tobacco Day and close the European Week Against Cancer, this webinar will assess the advancements and discuss the challenges that lie ahead for Europe in the realm of regulation within the domain of tobacco control.
WHO-STOP Report:
Hooking the next generation
The WHO and STOP, a global tobacco industry watchdog, launched “Hooking the next generation,” a report highlighting how the tobacco and nicotine industry designs products, implements marketing campaigns and works to shape policy environments to help them addict the world’s youth.
WNTD Video Campaign:
Youth step in and speak out
The industry's deceptive tactics highlight the urgent need for strong regulations to protect young people from a lifetime of harmful dependence. Discover the 2024 WHO WNTD campaign here!
Social reels challenge: expose tobacco industry tactics targeting young people
Submission deadline: 30 June 2024
The Global Media Competition is looking for compelling social media short video reels that uncover the tobacco industry's deceptive tactics and highlight effective laws protecting children from its harmful influence. We're inviting entries from those 35 years old and under to recognize a ‘for youth by youth’ approach.
WHO story:
Have you heard of white snus?
The Swedish case is now featured in a WHO story, shedding light on the white snus. Learn more about the reality and activity conducted for youth by the NGO A Non Smoking Generation.
New data available:
Smoking in Luxembourg
Every year, the Cancer Foundation publishes the results of the  Smoking in Luxembourg survey, jointly commissioned by the Cancer Foundation and the Ministry of Health and Social Security. 
The latest publications in the TPC Journal can be found here.
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