Tobacco (45) Q1. Do people understand the harms of using tobacco products? (18) How can people be better informed? (3)

9 March, 2023

Dear Meena,

I agree with all the points, I want to reflect on one of them: the need to educate about tobacco addiction in school.

I am not opposed to this education because, as you said, it can have a powerful effect at the family level if the children, with their naivety, question their parents' smoking habits.

But two aspects concern me here:

First, we continue to place on the school system (and I am speaking from a Latin American perspective) the burden of solving (or trying to solve) many social problems that should be addressed differently (for example, with more intense and effective evidence-based public policies).

Second, after leaving primary school, in secondary school, the intensity of this education tends to decrease, to which is added the fact that young people begin to question their parents, their teachers, and society; and they see it as hypocritical because many of those who say that they should not smoke... continue to smoke, and this is the period of greatest vulnerability or frequency of tobacco consumption initiation.

Without opposing your suggestion, I want to emphasize all the rest you proposed, and the critical importance of socially denormalizing the act of smoking through increasing the price of tobacco, a total ban on advertising, graphic health warnings on packages, smoke-free environments, etc.

As Health Professionals, we have a great responsibility to promote and make decision-makers understand what the most effective strategies to prevent consumption and promote tobacco cessation are.

Kind regards,


*Dr. Eduardo Bianco*

Director, International Policy Education


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*Chair, WHF Tobacco Expert Group


HIFA profile: Eduardo Bianco is a medical doctor and Cardiologist, Certified Tobacco Cessation Expert with a Master’s in Prevention and Treatment of Addictive Disorders. Currently, he is Chair of the World Heart Federation Tobacco Expert Group. Dr. Bianco’s research examines tobacco control and cessation, and he is a prominent member of several organizations that address tobacco control in Latin America. Dr. Bianco has worked for 25 years in Uruguay and Latin America to promote and train in smoking cessation treatment and tobacco control policies. He is also the former Regional Coordinator for the Americas of the Framework Convention Alliance and former Technical Director of the MOH Center for International Cooperation for Tobacco. He is a member of the HIFA working group on substance use disorders. Email: ebianco AT