Strengthening the implementation of the FCTC with a special focus to youth
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MOH, Tobacco Control Dep, Turkey
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A565
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Background and challenges to implementation:
Tobacco industry (TI) still target youth despite the FCTC. With novel products and flavours to appeal to first-time smokers, TI seems to aim youth smokers. Turkey ratified the FCTC in 2004 and has been pertinaciously and successfully implemented through National Tobacco Control Programs (NTCP) and Action Plans since 2008. As stated in the last three WHO Global Tobacco Epidemic Reports, Turkey is among the countries implementing MPOWER measures at the highest level.
However despite the mentioned success, further preventive activities with a special focus to youth were needed considering tobacco use prevalence among youth at 6,9%, 8.4% and 10.4% respectively (2003, 2009, 2012).

Intervention or response:
1- Young people from NGOs through collaboration with MOH have voluntarily contributed to the following:
- Two national workshops in 2017 to determine the aim, objectives and strategies for the control activities targeting youth have been organized.
- NTCP targeting the youth with a peer led tobacco prevention point of view has been launched in the World No Tobacco Day of 2017.
2- Menthol is a prominent design feature used by TI to attract and retain new, younger smokers. Therefore, in 2015, Turkey became the first country to implement a ban on menthol as well as menthol derivatives, as an additive at any level in cigarettes and hand-rolled tobacco. The ban takes effect January 2019, at the manufacturer level, and May 2020, at the retail level.

Results and lessons learnt:
Through the above mentioned activities, youth will be prevented from encountering tobacco products and smoking prevalence will significantly decline. Adolescent peers will be better advocates of tobacco control.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
Comprehensive implementation of the FCTC with contributory activities on youth are essential. Moreover, the implementation of plain packaging and regular GYTS as well as revealing the scientific information on the harmful effects of new tobacco products like iQOS undermining the FCTC are crucial.