GENEVA, May 27 /PRNewswire/ --
On World No Tobacco Day, 31 May, the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) joins the World Health Organization in calling for a comprehensive ban on all forms of advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products.
Globally, most smokers start smoking before the age of 18. Almost one fourth begin before they are ten. The younger children are when they first try smoking, the more likely they are to become regular tobacco users and the less likely they are to quit.
Advertising is a net deliberately set by the tobacco industry to entrap them into addiction.
"It's time to break the tobacco marketing net and set our children and young people free," says UICC executive director Isabel Mortara. "One of the most effective ways to protect them from addiction, illness and premature death is to ban all forms of direct and indirect tobacco advertising - including promotion of tobacco products and sponsorship by the tobacco industry of any events or activities."
Whether they smoke or not, almost half the world's children - 700 million - are regularly exposed to the toxic effects of second-hand smoke.
UICC is promoting a global competition for a universally recognized symbol to identify places children are free from environmental tobacco smoke. The symbol should be a graphic image without words and communicate across cultures.
The UICC competition is open to children and adults, creative agencies, art schools, and UICC member organizations. The deadline for entries is 30 June. The winner will attend the World Cancer Congress in Geneva, Switzerland, 27-31 August, to present the symbol and receive a US$5,000 cash prize.
The competition for a smoke-free symbol is part of "I love my smoke-free childhood", launched on World Cancer Day, 4 February 2008, as the first full-year theme in a five-year global cancer prevention programme focusing on children and young people. For more information, visit www.worldcancercampaign.org .
The International Union Against Cancer: UICC is the leading international non-governmental organization dedicated exclusively to the global control of cancer, linking 300 member in almost 100 countries. See www.uicc.org .
More information on World No Tobacco Day is available at www.who.int.