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Child Health Advocacy

Tobacco and e-cigarettes

It's the next generation cigareeteProtecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use. World No Tobacco Day.

Respiratory disorders are the commonest somatic disorders in childhood in South Africa. Acute respiratory infections are the commonest reason for children to attend primary care facilities and to be admitted to hospital. Asthma affects 1 in 5 children in the country. Both the frequency of these conditions and their severity are aggravated by secondary cigarette smoke in children’s environment (‘passive smoking’). Hence advocating to protect children from the harmful effects of second hand smoke and to be safe from targeted attempts from the tobacco industry is a priority of the committee.

The Department has joined the Tobacco Control Advocacy Alliance in South Africa, to continue to work towards protecting children, families and the environment from the harmful effects of tobacco and nicotine delivery systems. The Tobacco Control Advocacy Alliance brings together organisations from civil society and academia that have a common interest in limiting the effects of tobacco on South African society. It is coordinated by the National Council against Smoking  a no-profit organisation largely funded by the National Department of Health. Its main functions are co-ordinated advocacy around tobacco control in South Africa, and information sharing. Online webinars on specific subjects take place when particular focuses or opportunities arise.

Learn about tobacco and COVID-19

Look at some of the evidence presented by the National Council Against Smoking for the restriction of tobacco products during the COVID-19 South African lockdown.

Submission on the Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill

Anthony Westwood coordinated a departmental submission on the draft Bill, see the response. Read also an editorial article written for the South African Journal of Child Health calling for stricter control on tobacco and nicotine delivery devices.

Protect Little Lungs

Prof  Tony Westwood wrote an article for the Cape Times highlighting what people can and must do to reduce the effects of passive smoking on babies and children. He also is the designer and wearer of a T-shirt that gives the message clearly to anyone who will read it.

E-cigarettes a global child health concern

Leading health experts and advocates are now clear that e-cigarettes are not the lesser evil to tobacco use. Evidence shows that nicotine is highly addictive and is a stepping stone to tobacco use. Moreover, the electronic cigarette aerosols do not contain harmless water vapour, as many companies claim, and it will take decades to fully appreciate the magnitude of the impact of e-cigarettes on health.

Learn about the dangers of e-cigarettes

It is essential for paediatricians and child advocates to keep up to date with the latest developments. To find out more see the statement from the Foundation of International Respiratory Societies.

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