The Intergenerational Responsibility of the Tobacco Industry

We, youth from around the world, joined together by international organizations, call for intergenerational solidarity to hold the tobacco industry accountable and liable for its continuous acts of harming the people and the planet.

We represent a global constituency committed to protect the young adults, the children, and the future generation from the lifelong addiction caused by the tobacco industry.

Because of the tobacco industry’s tactics, a significant number of youth are addicted to nicotine: Many of us are destined for a lifelong struggle with our mental health and well-being. The tobacco industry’s products continue to target our parents as well: We don’t want another child to lose a father or mother to smoking.

In the past few years alone, we have seen the tobacco industry’s hand in the vaping epidemic, youth targeted digital marketing, sports sponsorship/advertising, continued exploitation of child labor, continued environmental damage from cigarette butts, fake philanthropic activities, acquisition of pharmaceutical companies to cover up the damage , and influencing of governments to roll back on tobacco control measures or overturn regulations/bans.

With its corporate influence on government actors, the profit-driven tobacco industry effectively holds the future of the next generation in its hands. We condemn the actions of the tobacco industry and those representing its interests and call for justice.

GRIEVANCES

1. Tobacco companies created a youth vaping epidemic resulting directly from employing tobacco transnational’s marketing playbook.

2. Tobacco companies caused a rise in youth vaping in markets where tobacco transnationals have lobbied aggressively to introduce novel nicotine and tobacco products.

3. Tobacco companies accessed the young crowd through sports sponsorship and advertising of novel and tobacco products and related materials.

4. Tobacco companies’ deceived the public as to its social acceptability while continuing to exploit child labor

5. Tobacco companies disguised their environmental harms, which will deprive the future generation of marine resources (for example, anti-litter programs to wash its hands off the environmental harms of cigarette butts as a toxic single use plastic)

6. Tobacco companies conducted so-called philanthropic activities to further its interests, influencing policymakers in a manner that will increase corporate profits at the expense of youth’s health.

7. Tobacco companies acquired pharmaceutical and recreational drug companies, including vaccines and cannabis.

8. Tobacco companies lobbied to influence governments to roll back on tobacco control measures or overturn bans and strict regulations of the tobacco industry.

Because tobacco products cost 8 million lives and 1.4 trillion USD in economic losses annually, we demand the following action:

REQUIRE THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY TO PAY COMPENSATION

a. Those addicted to tobacco products are hooked while young and vulnerable. Tobacco industry’s actions have induced youth uptake and have caused the loss of familial/social connection and support for children. The tobacco industry should be made to pay for the lasting pain and suffering caused. The youth and the future generation must have access to and be assured of compensation.

b. Because the future generation will inherit the environment, tobacco companies must pay reparations for polluting our oceans for decades with toxic plastics (cigarette butts), among other environmental harms. To prevent further harm, governments must ban cigarette filters as a single use plastic. This measure will also reduce the attractiveness of cigarettes.

c. Governments must make access to justice easy for the youth. Tobacco industry accountability and liability can come in the form of revocation of licenses, compensation for harms, financial guarantees for future harms, which can be exacted through court cases, tobacco surcharges, penalties, fees or taxes, among others.

REMOVE THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY FROM POLICY DEVELOPMENT

a. Governments must investigate the influence of the tobacco industry on policymakers and prevent conflicts of interests. Tobacco’s corporate sponsorships, including so-called CSR of the tobacco industry, which is partly a lobbying disguise and a marketing tactic aimed at the youth, should be
banned.

b. The youth’s risk of addiction and recreational use should be at the center of any policy decision on novel and emerging tobacco products. The tobacco industry should not be allowed to profit from the said products.

There is a fundamental conflict of interest between the tobacco industry and public health, including the health of future generations that will be decided by policies adopted now. On the occasion of International Youth Day, we seek intergenerational solidarity to create a World for All Age, a sustainable future without tobacco industry interference.

We condemn the tobacco industry’s continued imposition of irreparable harms on the youth and the future generation. The time for the government to make the tobacco industry pay is now.

 

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