Prevention of tobacco addiction: It’s necessary to act against an alarming level of smoking among children

Children and youth are daily endangered by the targeted marketing of the tobacco industry, which is used by different and numerous methods of attracting this part of the population with the aim of investing in future smokers. This is just one of the reasons why activities aimed at preventing tobacco consumption and raising awareness of the tobacco industry’s tactics aimed at children and young people are an indispensable part of the fight against the harmful consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.

With the aim of preventing the development of addiction to tobacco products among children, PROI Association has partnered with Association Altius, a partnership organization, to implement workshops based on Unplugged primary prevention programs that have given positive results in many countries. The workshops were realized within the project “The accomplishment of the human rights and fundamental freedoms through tobacco control” funded by the European Union in the amount of 157,600.00 EUR.

When I heard about this workshop I thought it would be a boring PowerPoint presentation”

Through the workshop, 112 children, 300 parents and over 200 members of the school staff were educated. In addition, a handbook and quiz cards were developed for students to help them in further peer education. The main focus of this program is to promote positive and healthy behaviors, while the skills and knowledge gained during the education specifically affect the prevention of tobacco use among young people, and help parents to understand better adolescents and increase awareness of family risk and protective factors related to the use of addictive drugs.

Both the students and the parents expressed their satisfaction with the workshops, and a large number of students were surprised by the dynamics and interesting approach to the theme.

“I planned to sit in the back and play games on my cell phone waiting for the end. You totally surprised me. I did not know the workshop could be so interesting,” said one of the students who participated in the workshop.

There were other positive comments from children, parents, and teachers who evaluated the workshops as interesting, creative, and useful, and many students wondered if the workshops would be held again.

We are extremely pleased that parents and children have shown great interest in this way of working and a new approach to preventing the use of tobacco products. The worrying levels of smoking among children indicate the need for efficient and high-quality prevention programs. When we have one big industry with huge profit and marketing aimed at children, it is quite certain that we cannot allow ourselves not to do anything about it. Unplugged program is a world-proven and effective prevention program. PROI Association is also the only non-governmental organization in Bosnia and Herzegovina that is certified and educated in work based on this program, and we are definitely planning to continue with prevention activities“, said the PROI Association.

During the workshop, the students had the opportunity to express themselves creatively, and the created drawings were recently exhibited at the Sarajevo Historical Museum during the five-day exhibition “Tobacco – Threat to Development in BiH”, on the occasion of the World Without Tobacco Day. In addition to all those interested, including a large number of children and parents, as well as school institutions, Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Head of EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative in BiH along with other members of the EU Delegation BiH,
representatives of the World Bank, the Swiss Embassy, the Federal Ministry of Health, the FBiH Public Health Institute and representatives of other international and local organizations and institutions for health and control of the tobacco, as well as the FBiH governmental institutions had the opportunity to see the exhibited works.

Better Prevent Than Treat: PROI Continues Working on Prevention of Tobacco Consumption among Children and Youth

PROI Association has been in the field of tobacco control for a number of years, and as part of the project “The accomplishment of the human rights and fundamental freedoms through tobacco control” has launched the first public campaign in BiH in this area entitled “Smeta Mi” which encompasses activities directed at young people who are the most active on social networks.

Draft of the bill on Control and Limited Use of Tobacco, Tobacco and Other Smoking Products in FBiH has recently been adopted by the FBiH Parliament House. The new law also envisages a series of measures relating to the sale, packaging, display, and promotion of tobacco products that have been proven around the world as effective measures to prevent tobacco dependence among children and youth.

The PROI Association has once again invited all those interested to join the public debate in the forthcoming period, including parents’ associations, parents themselves and all those whose aim is to advocate for effective measures to protect the health and life of children, as well as the protection of basic human rights to health and life of all of us. The scheduled public hearing period is 90 days, and public debates will be held at the cantonal level, and finish with the final, central public debate in Sarajevo.