World No Tobacco Day

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), smoking kills up to half of its users. In fact, over 7 million people worldwide are expected to die each year from tobacco-related health complications. It’s not just the smokers who suffer; exposure to secondhand smoke kills 600,000 people each year. World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) is observed around the world every year on 31st May. This yearly celebration informs the public on the dangers of using tobacco, the business practices of tobacco companies, what the World Health Organization (WHO) is doing to fight against the use of tobacco, and what people around the world can do to claim their right to health and healthy living and to protect future generations. WHO emphasizes that the tobacco industry manipulates youth with different strategies, including use of youth-appealing flavors, attractive product designs, promotion claims of “harm reduction”, sponsoring celebrities/influencers and brand events, point-of-sale marketing at vending outlets frequented by children, and indirect marketing, etc. The Member States of the World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes. In 1987, the World Health Assembly passed Resolution WHA40.38, calling for 7th April 1988 to be a “world no-smoking day.” In 1988, Resolution WHA42.19 was passed, calling for the celebration of World No Tobacco Day, every year on 31st May.

Each year, the WHO selects a theme for the day in order to create a more unified global message for WNTD. This theme then becomes the central component of the WHO’s tobacco-related agenda for the following year. The WHO oversees the creation and distribution of publicity materials related to the theme, including brochures, fliers, posters, websites, and press releases. The WHO serves as a central hub for fostering communication and coordinating WNTD events around the world. The WHO website provides a place for groups to share news of their activities, and the organization publishes this information online by country. Tobacco is solely responsible for causing lung diseases and other respiratory disorders including tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), etc. Tobacco consumption also leads to oral and lung cancers. Since 1988 the WHO has presented one or more awards to organizations or individuals who have made exceptional contributions to reducing tobacco consumption. ‘World No Tobacco Day Awards’ are given to individuals from six different world regions (Africa, Americas, Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, South-East Asia, and Western Pacific), and Director-General Special Awards and Recognition Certificates are given to individuals from any region.