Tobacco production and tobacco use are linked to numerous human rights violations and impede the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Tobacco cultivation is associated with poverty, child labour and lack of occupational safety whereas tobacco marketing and sale violates the human rights to health and life. Thus, the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) was included in the sustainable development goals (SDG 3.a) with good reason.

Especially children and young people are affected by the effects of tobacco production and consumption. The state has great responsibility for this particularly vulnerable group and thus needs to protect and fulfil their rights as recognised in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

The entirety of children’s rights leads to the conclusion: Children have a right to a tobacco-free world, a world where tobacco consumption has been reduced to meaningless levels in the majority of countries and where the tobacco industry is highly regulated.

Children have the right to be protected from the tobacco industry, i.e. not to be exploited in tobacco cultivation, to live in a smoke-free environment that protects them from secondhand smoke as well as from starting to smoke themselves and to have access to smoking cessation support if they have become addicted to tobacco.

These SDGs, children’s rights and FCTC articles are important for tobacco control in the best interests of children:

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Children have the right to be protected from the tobacco industry.
Factsheet "Children have a Right to a Tobacco-free World" © Factsheet children's rights frontpage by Unfairtobacco / CC BY-NC-ND 4.0