Tobacco (70) Q1 Do people understand the health, socio-economic and environmental harms of using tobacco products? (24) Meeting the information needs of children

23 March, 2023

Dear HIFA colleagues,

Further to the messages from Meean Cherian and Eduardo Bianco about health education and tobacco in schools

I am forwwarding a new message today from our sister forum CHIFA (child health and rights)


Dear All

I don't have data on the 'extent' that children understand the different harms and aspects of using tobacco products. What I do know is that most schools will have lessons on the harms of tobacco in their health education curricula

and text books.

These lessons are not likely to be any more effective than most other health education lessons as they fail to connect the real lives and experinces of the children and what they are doing as young adopters of smoking habit or as people who might be indirectly harmed by others' smoking habits.

We need to get more clever about educating children about this addictive habit so that they feel empowered to become agents of change in their own families and have the skills to resist or even challenge peers drawing them into the smoking habit.

At Children for Health, we have done some but not enough work on this topic. I'd be happy to share what we have.

Clare Hanbury

CHIFA profile: Clare Hanbury is director of Children for Health ( She qualified as a teacher in the UK and then worked in schools in Kenya and Hong Kong. After an MA in Education in Developing Countries and for many years, Clare worked for The Child-to-Child Trust based at the University of London’s Institute of Education where, alongside Hugh Hawes and Professor David Morley she worked to help embed the Child-to-Child ideas of childrens participation in health – into government and non-government child health and education programmes in numerous countries. Clare has worked with these ideas alongside vulnerable groups of children such as refugees and street children. Since her MSc in International Maternal and Child Health, Clare has worked freelance and focuses on helping government and non-government programmes to design and deliver child-centered health and education programmes where children are active participants. Clare has worked in many countries in East and Southern Africa and in Pakistan, Cambodia and the Yemen. Her current passion is for distilling health information for teachers, health workers and others – into simple practical health messages actionable by children. Email: clare.hanbury AT



HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of HIFA (Healthcare Information For All), a global health community that brings all stakeholders together around the shared goal of universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA has 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting in four languages and representing all parts of the global evidence ecosystem. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK-based nonprofit in official relations with the World Health Organization. Email: