Interesting Facts About World No Tobacco Day: WHO’s Official Global Public Health Campaign

World No Tobacco Day is observed every year on May 31. It serves to generate awareness about the health risks of tobacco use and to advocate for more effective policies that can help reduce worldwide tobacco use.
Tobacco, a brown product prepared by curing the leaves of a tobacco plant, is believed to have originated thousands of years ago somewhere in the Americas. It was later discovered by Christopher Columbus and subsequently introduced to the rest of the world.
Tobacco contains the alkaline nicotine, a stimulant which makes tobacco very addictive. Tobacco use is known to cause a myriad of cancers and according to the World Health Organization, is the largest preventable cause of death and disease today.
Tobacco consumption causes around 6 million deaths each year worldwide. This includes around 600,000 of which are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand or passive smoke.
In 1987, the World Health Organization established World No Tobacco Day in an effort to draw attention to the risks of tobacco use and move towards safer and better public health for all.
Since then, World No Tobacco Day has evolved into an important annual event that generates awareness for other tobacco related issues such as illegal trade, secondhand smoke and tobacco control.
Find more interesting facts about World No Tobacco Day below:
1. In 2008, on the eve of the World No Tobacco Day, the WHO called for a worldwide ban on all tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship. The theme of that year’s day was ″Tobacco-free youth″; therefore, this initiative was especially meant to target advertising efforts aimed at youth.
According to the WHO, the tobacco industry must replace older quitting or dying smokers with younger consumers. Because of this, marketing strategies are commonly observed in places that will attract youth such as billboards, the Internet, movies, and magazines. Studies have shown that the more youth are exposed to tobacco advertising, the more likely they are to smoke.
2. Each year the WHO selects a theme for the World No Tobacco Day to engage a world of inspirational thought to convey its deeply humanitarian message. The theme for World No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2017, is “Tobacco – a threat to development.”
It will propose measures that governments and the public should take to promote health and development by confronting the global tobacco crisis. This theme then becomes WHOs fundamental element of the tobacco-related agenda for the year to follow.
To facilitate the spread of the agenda the WHO invests in the creation and distribution of publicity materials related to the theme, including brochures, fliers, posters, websites, and press releases.
3. The WHO’s World No Tobacco Day initiative indicates an alternate understanding of the facts, as felt from a global public health perspective. World No Tobacco Day celebrations provide an official interpretation of the most recent tobacco-related research and statistics to provide a common ground, which can formulate anti-tobacco arguments around the world.
4. Sustained efforts on part of the members of Pongalipaka, a tiny village in Andhra Pradesh with a population of 1,632 people, have paid off as the place has been declared tobacco-free, according to India Today online. In Hyderabad, the Apollo cancer hospital has launched a month-long anti-tobacco campaign to make Andhra Pradesh a tobacco-free state.
5. In the past twenty nine years, the World No Tobacco Day has been met with both enthusiasm and resistance around the globe from governments, public health organizations, smokers, growers, and the tobacco industry.
6. WNTD is one of eight official global public health campaigns marked by the WHO, along with World Health Day, World Blood Donor Day, World Immunization Week, World Tuberculosis Day, World Malaria Day, World Hepatitis Day, and World AIDS Day.
7. Groups around the world — from local clubs to city councils to national governments — are encouraged by the WHO to organize events each year to help communities celebrate World No Tobacco Day in their own way at the local level.
Past events have included letter writing campaigns to government officials and local newspapers, marches, public debates, local and national publicity campaigns, anti-tobacco activist meetings, educational programming, and public art.

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