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Home > Tobacco control to improve child health and development: thematic brief.

Filippidis, Filippos T and Laverty, Anthony A and Millett, Christopher and Been, Jasper V and Anshu, Banerjee and Commar, A’isha Alison Louise and Daelmans, Bernadette and Gouda, Hebe and Mohan Prasad, Vinayak (2021) Tobacco control to improve child health and development: thematic brief. Geneva: World Health Organization.

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Children exposed to tobacco smoke are at an increased risk of a range of diseases and are more likely to take up smoking themselves. Enabling children to grow up free from the dangers of tobacco exposure is a key aspect of providing clean, safe and secure environments. Providing such environments is central to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3 on good health and wellbeing. It is also essential for nurturing care. The World Health Organization (WHO) has set out a package of proven effective measures, together called MPOWER, to reduce tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure. Many of these tobacco control policies have been shown to reduce children’s exposure to second-hand smoke and therefore to improve birth outcomes and children’s health and development.

This brief summarizes the health risks that tobacco poses to children, particularly to infants and young children, and the strong protective effect of tobacco control measures. The aim is to raise awareness among practitioners and policymakers about the importance of strong tobacco control measures for protecting the health and development of children. The brief gives examples of actions needed to advance tobacco control in countries and local settings and to align child health and tobacco control goals.


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