WHO EMRO | WHO art competition for school students | News


Protecting children from tobacco industry interference

On 31 May 2024, WHO will celebrate World No Tobacco Day.

The tobacco problem is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing about 8.3 million people a year globally. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use, while about 1.3 million deaths result from non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

Surveys tell us that, in most countries, children aged 13–15 years are using tobacco and nicotine products. To protect future generations and ensure that tobacco use continues to decline, WHO is dedicating this year’s World No Tobacco Day to protecting children from tobacco industry interference.

The campaign aims to amplify young people’s voices, expose tobacco industry tactics and increase public awareness of the need to defend health policies and protect the health of future generations.

WHO stands with young people globally who demand that governments protect them against a deadly industry that targets them with harmful new products while outright lying about the health impacts.

We want you to be a part of World No Tobacco Day. So, using your imagination and creative skills, create a drawing or painting related to tobacco control and enter our art competition. Before you begin, read up on this important health issue and talk to your parents or caregivers, teachers and friends about your ideas for your artwork.

Key facts about tobacco

Tobacco is a leading cause of death, illness and impoverishment.

Tobacco kills up to half of its users who don’t quit.

Tobacco kills about 8.3 million people each year, including about 1.3 million non-smokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke.

About 80% of the world’s 1.3 billion tobacco users live in low- and middle-income countries.

In 2020, 22.3% of the world’s population used tobacco: 36.7% of men and 7.8% of women.

To address the tobacco problem, WHO Member States adopted the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2003. Currently, 182 countries are Parties to this Convention.

All forms of tobacco use are harmful, and there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco. Cigarette smoking is the most common form of tobacco use worldwide. Other tobacco products include waterpipe tobacco, cigars, cigarillos, roll-your-own tobacco, pipe tobacco, bidis and kreteks, and smokeless tobacco products.

New forms of tobacco, including e-cigarettes and heated tobacco, are as harmful as traditional forms of tobacco. They are all dangerous and cause deadly diseases and harmful health impacts.

According to the latest Global Youth Tobacco Survey, a school-based survey that focuses on young people aged 13–15 years, tobacco smoking is on the rise among girls and women in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. Across countries of the Region, smoking prevalence is 2.6–31.4% among girls and 0.7–29% among women.

Everyone has a role to play

Whether on our own or as part of a community, we can all play a part in protecting younger generations against the tactics of the tobacco industry. We can do this by telling more children and adults about this problem, and engaging with people, groups and organizations that can take action.

Conditions of entry

  1. To enter the art competition, you must be aged 7–17 years and live in one of the countries or territories of the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region.
  2. The last date to submit your entry is 15 April 2024.
  3. Your entry must be in the form of a drawing or painting that you have created all by yourself. Scan your artwork digitally (using a high-quality scanner).
  4. You must also fill in the form below to give us your details – type your answers or write them clearly in pen. Your parent or legal guardian must also sign the form to tell us that you’re allowed to take part in the competition.
  5. Send the scans of your artwork and the signed entry form to the email address of the WHO country office in the country where you live. For the email subject line, type: “WNTD24 Art Competition”.
  6. Entries submitted without the required information cannot be considered.
  7. Entries will be judged by age category: 7–9 years, 10–11 years, 12–13 years, 14–15 years and 16–17 years.
  8. WHO reserves the right to use any of the submitted artworks in its information products.

Winning entries will be selected by a panel of judges at the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean in Cairo, Egypt.

The winners will receive a certificate of merit, along with symbolic in-kind prizes. WHO may exhibit selected artworks and/or publish them on web, social media or its other channels and platforms in line with the conditions set out in the application form. 

Note to schools and art teachers

While schools should be selective in the entries they submit, all students should be encouraged to take part in the competition in order to raise their awareness of tobacco’s harmful impacts and the tricks used by the tobacco industry to trap younger generations.

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