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More than every fourth child of mothers with low social status was exposed to tobacco smoke during the pregnancy, increasing the risks of pregnancy complications and sudden infant death syndrome. Conversely, only 1.6 percent of pregnant women with high socioeconomic statuses smoke. This imbalance is ongoing: For example, socioeconomically disadvantaged children and adolescents are more frequently exposed to passive smoking (26.4 percent) than their peers with high statuses (8.2 percent), and are also more likely to smoke themselves. In general, the consumption of illegal drugs, alcohol and tobacco is heavily influenced by social characteristics: Lower-secondary-school (Hauptschule) students consume more tobacco or illegal drugs more frequently than their peers from other levels of education.

A new addiction factor is the increasing media consumption among children, adolescents and their parents, which poses a risk to health. For instance, babies are already displaying feeding and sleeping disorders, infants are displaying developmental language disorders, restlessness and aggression, and primary-school children are displaying difficulties concentrating. 22.4 percent of 12 to 17-year-olds have an issue with problematic Internet usage, while 5.8 percent of adolescents are affected by disorders associated with computer games or the Internet (Internet dependence), resulting in physical and mental disorders.

  • The National Coalition Germany recommends that the UN Committee call on the German federal government to
  • 98. Impose taxes on, and ban advertising for, health-harming products such as sugar, tobacco and alcohol, or significantly increase taxes on these, and implement the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control;
  • 99. Raise awareness among children, adolescents and parents regarding the physical, mental and psychosocial risks of their own media use, and educate them about the health-harming consequences of intensive use.
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