On the occasion of World No Tobacco Day 2024, we remind policy makers and the public of the influence the tobacco industry exerts on children and young people. In Germany, we join a new initiative and call for a law that protects children and young people from alcohol and nicotine* marketing.

Protecting Children from the Tobacco Industry

In advance of World No Tobacco Day, we joined Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) in releasing the report Protecting Children from the Tobacco Industry. It highlights how the tobacco industry harms children worldwide and infringes on their rights. It also shows how advocates can use global human rights instruments, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC), to further tobacco control and strengthen the fulfilment of children’s rights.

In 2024, tobacco companies are still violating children’s right to health, their right to a healthy environment as well as their right to be protected from exploitation. While on the one hand tobacco companies target children and youth with their marketing, flavoured products and sponsorship of music or sport events, on the other hand they exploit children on tobacco fields and the environment on a large scale.

Regarding the situation of tobacco marketing in Germany, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended the German government in 2022 to

„Regulate the marketing of tobacco to children and continue to strengthen measures to provide adolescents with information on preventing substance abuse, including of tobacco and alcohol“


Last week, Unfairtobacco joined ASH and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in hosting a webinar. We offered insights in how we achieved that the UN Committee acknowledged tobacco use as a children’s rights issue in Germany.

Watch the webinar in full length here.

Stop marketing for tobacco and nicotine products

Since disposable e-cigarettes became a youth trend, the marketing of such products increased sharply, also in Germany. These products are legally advertised around ubiquitous points of sale creating a high visibility in streets and the daily life of children and young people. At the same time, disposables are illegally advertised via social media channels reaching children and young people often unnoticed by their parents or adult users.

Advertising increases the attractiveness of these products and normalizes the use of nicotine in society. It can encourage consumption and promotes the use of these harmful and addictive substances among children and young people.

Last year, a volunteer at Unfairtobacco searched the German rap music scene and social media channels of other influencers for nicotine marketing. He concluded: It’s urgent that the responsible authorities improve the enforcement of the ban. He also took action: he created a series of insta posts and a factsheet on disposables and influencers for young people.

Children Without Alcohol and Nicotine

Today, we take another step to continue our committment for children’s rights in tobacco control and focus on tobacco marketing in Germany. On the occasion of World No Tobacco Day 2024, we join hands with 14 organisations to form the initiative Children Without Alcohol and Nicotine (Kinder ohne Alkohol und Nikotin).

With reference to the recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, we jointly call on the German Federal Government to keep its promise given in the coalition agreement (2021-2025).

We demand a law that protects children and young people from alcohol and nicotine* marketing.

The key requirement for this law is to completely end advertising for alcohol and nicotine products. This includes closing the loopholes in the tobacco advertising ban, in particular for advertising at the point of sale and its exterior spaces, as well as keeping nicotine products out of public view. Another important component is to fully monitor existing advertising restrictions for nicotine products on the Internet.

Because children have the right to the highest attainable protection of their health.

The initiative Children without Alcohol and Nicotine consists of health and civil society organizations. It is committed to ensuring that children and young people grow up in an environment that enables them to develop their personalities free from alcohol and nicotine marketing.

*In this context, we define nicotine products as non-pharmaceutical consumer products. These include tobacco products, e-cigarettes and related products.