World No Tobacco Day May 31, is observed around the world every year on 31 May. It is intended to encourage a 24-hour period of abstinence from all forms of tobacco consumption around the globe.
The day is further intended to draw attention to the widespread prevalence of tobacco use and to negative health effects, which currently lead to more than 7 million deaths each year worldwide, including 890,000 of which are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. The member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) created World No Tobacco Day in 1987
In 1987, the World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) designated the 40th anniversary of WHO, April 7, 1988, as World No-Tobacco Day . The objective of World No-Tobacco Day was to encourage all persons worldwide who smoke or chew tobacco to quit for at least 24 hours. Extensive press coverage of this event stimulated and identified a range of policy and health education activities linked to the event, the specific theme of which was “Tobacco or Health: Choose Health.” Illustrative activities in selected countries included bans on smoking in public places (Ethiopia), suspension of government tobacco sales (Cuba), radio and printed health messages from the government (Lebanon), poster contests (Spain), public cigarette-burning ceremonies (Nepal), and large public information campaigns (China).
The second World No-Tobacco Day, held May 31, 1989, emphasized the theme “Women and Tobacco–The Female Smoker: At Added Risk” In preparation for this event, the WHO director-general asked all major United Nations agencies to collaborate by declaring their offices free from tobacco on World No-Tobacco Day. Press advisory kits, video tapes, and radio programs were distributed by WHO. After the event, the WHO’s Tobacco or Health (TOH) Program received more than 300 newspaper articles from around the world documenting activities and press coverage related to World No-Tobacco Day. In some countries, these celebrations were led personally by the president (Bangladesh), a former prime minister (Sudan), or ministers of health (Nigeria, Fiji, Oman, and many others) Reported by: H Restrepo, MD, Adult Health Program, Pan American Health Organization, Washington, DC. Program Svcs Activity, Office on Smoking and Health, Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC.
How tobacco endangers the lung health of people worldwide
World No Tobacco Day will focus on the multiple ways that exposure to tobacco affects the health of people’s lungs worldwide.
Lung cancer. Tobacco smoking is the primary cause for lung cancer, responsible for over two thirds of lung cancer deaths globally. Second-hand smoke exposure at home or in the work place also increases risk of lung cancer. Quitting smoking can reduce the risk of lung cancer: after 10 years of quitting smoking, risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker.
Chronic respiratory disease. Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a condition where the build-up of pus-filled mucus in the lungs results in a painful cough and agonising breathing difficulties. The risk of developing COPD is particularly high among individuals who start smoking at a young age, as tobacco smoke significantly slows lung development. Tobacco also exacerbates asthma, which restricts activity and contributes to disability. Early smoking cessation is the most effective treatment for slowing the progression of COPD and improving asthma symptoms.
Across the life-course. Infants exposed in-utero to tobacco smoke toxins, through maternal smoking or maternal exposure to second-hand smoke, frequently experience reduced lung growth and function. Young children exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk of the onset and exacerbation of asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis, and frequent lower respiratory infections.
Globally, an estimated 60 000 children die before the age of 5 of lower respiratory infections caused by second-hand smoke. Those who live on into adulthood continue to suffer the health consequences of second-hand smoke exposure, as frequent lower respiratory infections in early childhood significantly increase risk of developing COPD in adulthood.
Tuberculosis. Tuberculosis (TB) damages the lungs and reduces lung function, which is further exacerbated by tobacco smoking. About one quarter of the world’s population has latent TB, placing them at risk of developing the active disease. People who smoke are twice as likely to fall ill with TB. Active TB, compounded by the damaging lung health effects of tobacco smoking, substantially increases risk of disability and death from respiratory failure.
Air pollution. Tobacco smoke is a very dangerous form of indoor air pollution: it contains over 7 000 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. Though smoke may be invisible and odourless, it can linger in the air for up to five hours, putting those exposed at risk of lung cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and reduced lung function.
Facts about tobacco- heart and other cardiovascular diseases
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) kill more people than any other cause of death worldwide, and tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure contribute to approximately 17% of all heart disease deaths. Tobacco use is the second leading cause of CVD, after high blood pressure.
The global tobacco epidemic kills more than 7 million people each year, of which close to 900 000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke. Nearly 80% of the more than 1 billion smokers worldwide live in low- and middle-income countries, where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death is heaviest.
The WHO MPOWER measures are in line with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and can be used by governments to reduce tobacco use and protect people from NCDs. These measures include:
Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies;
Protect people from exposure to tobacco smoke by creating completely smoke-free indoor public places, workplaces and public transport;
Offer help to quit tobacco (cost-covered, population-wide support, including brief advice by health care providers and national toll-free quit lines);
Warn about the dangers of tobacco by implementing plain/standardized packaging, and/or large graphic health warnings on all tobacco packages, and implementing effective anti-tobacco mass media campaigns that inform the public about the harms tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure.
Enforce comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and
Raise taxes on tobacco products and make them less affordable.
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. Videos were created as a part of the 2008 WNTD awareness campaign for the theme ″Tobacco-free youth″ and published on YouTube, and podcasts were first used in 2009.
In many of its WNTD themes and related publicity-materials, the WHO emphasizes the idea of “truth.” Theme titles such as “Tobacco kills, don’t be duped” (2000) and “Tobacco: deadly in any form or disguise” (2006) indicate a WHO belief that individuals may be misled or confused about the true nature of tobacco; the rationale for the 2000 and 2008 WNTD themes identify the marketing strategies and “illusions” created by the tobacco industry as a primary source of this confusion. The WHO’s WNTD materials present an alternate understanding of the “facts” as seen from a global public health perspective. WNTD publicity materials provide an “official” interpretation of the most up-to-date tobacco-related research and statistics and provide a common ground from which to formulate anti-tobacco arguments around the world. The theme for World No Tobacco Day 2017 was “Tobacco – a threat to development.” In 2018, it is “Tobacco breaks hearts”.
Goals of the World No Tobacco Day campaign
World No Tobacco Day aims to:
Highlight the links between the use of tobacco products and heart and other cardiovascular diseases.
Increase awareness within the broader public of the impact tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke have on cardiovascular health.
Provide opportunities for the public, governments and others to make commitments to promote heart health by protecting people from use of tobacco products.
Encourage countries to strengthen implementation of the proven MPOWER tobacco control measures contained in the WHO FCTC.