Another Reason to Stop Smoking Today: World No Tobacco Day

[ 0 ] May 31, 2011 |

The World Health Organization has designated May 31 as World No Tobacco Day; 6 million people will die from smoking this year alone

It’s no longer news that smoking leads to lung cancer, dull and wrinkled skin and even death. It also can cause complications if you’re on birth control,

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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