Ayaka Teshima, an early career researcher at the Tobacco Control Unit and University of Barcelona PhD student, has been selected as a Youth Ambassador for the European Cancer Leagues (ECL) Youth Ambassador Programme. She recently participated in a Summer school organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) Europe.

The ECL Youth Ambassadors for the European Code against Cancer (ECAC) program brings together highly motivated young individuals from over 30 different European countries. These Youth Ambassadors come from various fields, including medicine, public health, law, and political sciences. They receive support from ECL to promote cancer prevention through various events and initiatives.

Ayaka Teshima received three days of training at the Association Against Cancer in Barcelona. On the first day, the main topic was the European Commission and young European leaders working towards a tobacco-free generation. The event featured five guest speakers from organizations such as the Spanish Association Against Cancer, European Cancer Leagues, Cancer Control, WHO, the Spanish Ministry of Health, and the European Cancer Organisation. During this session, Ayaka, along with two other youth ambassadors, gave a short presentation as young professionals working on tobacco control. Ayaka’s presentation focused on tobacco consumption trends in Europe and the use of new devices and products, which aligns with her PhD research project.

On the second and third days, the Youth Ambassadors received training from the WHO Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Unit, with a particular focus on Commercial Determinants of Health (CDoH). Addressing CDoH is crucial for advancing cancer prevention efforts. The training included lectures on the strategies employed by industries such as tobacco, alcohol, food, pharmaceuticals, and medical device companies (especially in the context of cancer screening equipment). These lectures shed light on how these industries have clashed with public health professionals. Ayaka hopes that through her involvement in this initiative, she can collaborate with fellow young ambassadors to take the lead in implementing more comprehensive and effective cancer prevention activities.

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