14:14 18 Nov 2021

Young people win squid game against smoking and call on Parliament to pass anti-tobacco draft law №4358

Photo: UNIAN

On the International Day for Quitting Smoking on November 18, the all-Ukrainian campaign "Youth Free from Smoking" together with partners held a rally on Konstytutsii Square near the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine calling on parliamentarians to strengthen anti-tobacco legislation in Ukraine and adopt Law №4358.

During the rally, there was a performance similar to the famous "Squid Game" during which participants destroyed models of each type of tobacco product: classic cigarettes, fruit-flavored cigarettes, and electronic smoking devices.

After that, the guards of the "Game" symbolically took out the liquidated cigarettes to the famous music of the series.

With this performance, the participants of the rally demonstrated that young people want a healthy life without tobacco. Now it is the turn of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to adopt the anti-tobacco draft law №4358 to legally protect tobacco-free air in public places, ban fruit, sweet or other flavored cigarettes, eliminate aggressive advertising of electronic smoking devices and introduce medical warnings.

"Since 2019, about 100 organizations from Lutsk, Dnipro, Kherson, Kharkiv, and Lviv have joined our youth campaign. We appealed to local councils and people's deputies to draw attention to the rapid growth of smoking among young people. Due to the sharp increase in outdoor and online advertising, teenagers mistakenly perceive e-cigarettes and so-called IQOS as harmless toys with fun fruit flavors," said Oleh Slabospytskyi, coordinator of the campaign "Youth Free from Smoking."

"The lack of medical warnings and aggressive advertising of electronic smoking devices has led to the fact that every fifth child in Ukraine aged 13-15 is an e-cigarette smoker. Anti-tobacco legislation has not been updated for 9 years and we need to change that! I call on all colleagues in Parliament to unite to protect the health of Ukrainians and to support Draft Law 354358 in the second reading. It is our responsibility to make sure that future generations won't know what smoking is," the People's Deputy Lada Bulakh, co-author of the anti-tobacco draft law №4358, emphasized.

According to opinion polls, if in 2019 the prevalence of smoking among young people was 27.6%, in 2020 it was already 30.4%.

The fastest growth rates of smokers are shown by the latest developments in the tobacco industry: flavored electronic cigarettes and flavored tobacco products of electric heating. Due to the inaction of legislators and misleading reports about electronic smoking devices, many young people are unaware of their devastating harm to health and the drug addiction they cause.

"In Dnipro, we conducted public monitoring of restaurants and found 50 establishments that allow smoking indoors and three times more those establishments that allow smoking the so-called IQOS. Virtually all visitors become hostages to imperfect legislation that fuels dishonest business. As a result, visitors are forced to become passive smokers," said Vladislav Melnychuk, head of the NGO "Community of Active Youth."

The protesters supported the authors of the draft law №4358 and called on the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to immediately adopt an anti-tobacco law to protect children and youth from misleading marketing tools aimed at attracting tobacco and nicotine addiction.

Photo by UNIAN

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