The World Health Organization has designated today as World No Tobacco Day in an effort to more effectively relay the dangers of smoking – to those who smoke and those who don’t.
According to the WHO, there is one death every six seconds from tobacco use, and exposure to tobacco smoke (second-hand smoke). This year alone, 6 million people will die from smoking, and exposure to smoke will kill 600,000 non-smokers. By 2030, tobacco could kill 8 million; if current trends persist, it could kill up to 1 billion deaths in the 21st century. The WHO also says tobacco use is a huge contributor to the epidemic of noncommunicable diseases such as heart attack, stroke, cancer and emphysema, which accounts for 63 percent of all deaths, nearly 80% of which occur in low- and middle-income countries.
The WHO says governments around the world aren’t doing enough to encourage smokers to quit, or to protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke, so the organization working with various countries on the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) – a public health treaty aimed to be the world’s most powerful tobacco control tool. The European Union and 172 countries have signed on to the treaty, which obligates nations to:
- protect people from exposure to tobacco smoke
- ban tobacco advertising and sales to minors
- put large health warnings on packages of tobacco
- ban or limit additives to tobacco products
- increase tobacco taxes
- create a national coordinating mechanism for tobacco control.
To mark World No Tobacco Day, the World Lung Foundation (WLF) launched a campaign of graphic images of the health effects of smoking that health officials can download for use as warnings on tobacco packaging. Mass media anti-smoking campaigns have also been launched in Bangladesh, India, Mauritius, Russia, Ukraine, and the Philippines, including:
- The “Sponge” campaign in India, Bangladesh and Mauritius depicts the amount of cancer-producing tar in smokers’ lungs;
- The “Cigarettes are Eating Your Baby Alive” campaign in the Ukraine and Russia, which targets parents who smoke
- “Smoke-Free Works – Pub” campaign in Russia, which informs citizens of smoke-free laws in the work place; and
- The “Cigarettes are Eating You Alive” campaign in the Philippines, which informs Filipinos that tobacco smoke causes damage to nearly every organ and tissue of the body
Tell us: What do you think the most effective thing that the U.S. can do to combat smoking?
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