2022 has been a very eventful year. We focused our commitment to tobacco control on environmental protection, children’s rights and human rights. We worked with different partners for climate protection, for tobacco cessation, for an effective supply chain law and a raw material transition.

Focus on environment and climate

The World Health Organisation’s annual theme for tobacco control was Tobacco – a threat to the environment. Thus, our expertise was in great demand to shape this topic in German-speaking countries and we shared our knowledge on as many occasions as possible.

We supported online seminars of the German Network for Tobacco free Healthcare Services, the Institute for the Prevention of Addiction VIVID and the Austrian Health Insurance. We provided information on the impact of tobacco and cigarette production on water bodies, forests and the climate. After all, the cigarette industry’s carbon footprint is as big as that of a small industrialised country like Austria.

Throughout the summer, we showed our Big Tobacco exhibition at the Havelhöhe Community Hospital and supported the event “Smoke-Free Life” meets “Health for Future” with a talk on the environmental impact of tobacco. We were also present at climate strikes and other environmental events in and around Berlin.

In the media, we contributed to a broadcast of the Hessian television channel and provided texts and pictures for blogs and videos of partners in Finland, Sweden and Switzerland as well as for the International Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).

On our website, we investigated the tobacco industry’s environmental strategies – also called greenwashing – and updated our map of alternative livelihoods to tobacco cultivation.

In the second half of the year, we looked at the supply chains of tobacco and nicotine products. Together with Michael Reckordt from PowerShift, we produced factsheets on e-cigarettes, tobacco heaters and hookahs. We published them at the 20th German Conference on Tobacco Control. This allowed us to broaden the view of public health experts and to discuss effective supply chain laws and a raw material transition.

Focus on children’s rights and tobacco control

In autumn, we were able to reap the fruits of our long term work in the German Network Children’s Rights and Tobacco Control which we had founded in September 2018. Since then we have monitored and accompanied Germany’s reporting process on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We submitted a final statement shortly before the hearing of the German delegation in Geneva. And indeed, tobacco production was chosen as an example of issues dealing with children’s rights in supply chains.

In its concluding observations, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child called on the German government to better protect children from tobacco smoke, tobacco advertising and from exploitation (e.g. in tobacco fields).

This victory in our back, we continued to campaign for an effective German supply chain law and for an effective corporate due diligence law to be introduced at the EU level as well.

We also participated in the federation appeal “Health protection first – For a smoking ban in cars when minors or pregnant women are present”, which was signed by many members of the German Network Children’s Rights and Tobacco Control.

All the recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child can be implemented using the measures of the Strategy for a Tobacco-Free Germany 2040. With this in mind, members of the network have jointly envisioned a Twitter campaign and supported the implementation by the German Cancer Research Centre.

Focus on learning for a tobacco-free world

For a number of years we have been pursuing the vision of a tobacco-free world. A world where tobacco use has been reduced to a meaningless level and the tobacco industry is highly regulated. On the way to such a world, children, adolescents and young adults today need information about how the global tobacco business works and why they are the most important target group of the tobacco industry. And they need tools and opportunities to become active themselves.

This is where we come in with our education offers. At projects in schools and in online seminars, young people learned many facts about tobacco cultivation and the tobacco trade, they played our simulation game “Tobacco in Bralavia” and discussed ideas for a future with or without tobacco. At the Youth Film Days in Berlin, young people learned about the global interlinkages of the tobacco trade participating in our quiz related to a world map.

Finally, we passed on our experience in global learning combined with addiction prevention to multipliers in an online training course, who can now use the simulation game and other formats profitably.

We thank you for your support last year!

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