The public has the right to know about the negative consequences of tobacco and how tobacco use can be removed or minimized. This is stated in Article 12 of the Tobacco Convention.

The success of the information mission, under Article 12, requires countries to communicate, by all available means, about the negative consequences of tobacco production, consumption, and secondhand smoke. The guidelines stress the need for effective training, communication, and training programs linked to all types of tobacco products, including new and alternative products. Special attention should also be paid to the impact the products may have on vulnerable groups. The information should also concern the tobacco industry’s strategies to impede tobacco control, i.e., the work to reduce or completely remove tobacco use.

Politicians important for disseminating information

The dissemination of the messages needs to be done in different ways to succeed. One way is through educational programs for the public. Another way is through education for people who then disseminate the message. Examples of intermediaries mentioned are staff in schools, health care and social services, but also politicians and other decision-makers.

In Sweden, information, education, and advocacy have been the mainstays of tobacco prevention, ever since the 1960s, long before the United Nation Tobacco Convention entered into force. Adequate and long-term financial resources are essential  to maintain the quality and supply of information and educational materials in several areas. New generations have the same right to knowledge as previous generations about the harmful effects of the use of nicotine products. The information efforts must last as long as the tobacco industry recruits new users of nicotine products.

The Guidelines for Article 12 include :

  • Broad information and training programs are needed to address all forms of tobacco use.
  • All information and training operations shall be protected from the tobacco industry and no cooperation whatsoever shall take place between the Parties and the tobacco industry or its allies.
  • There is a need of training programs that are evidence-based and based on best practices.
  • A fundamental aim is to achieve social disapproval of tobacco, tobacco cultivation, the tobacco industry, and the use of tobacco.
  • The involvement of the civil society in the work is always important.

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