World No Tobacco Day: Taking a Stand against Tobacco Worldwide

May 31, 2011

Today is World No Tobacco Day, which has been implemented to raise awareness of the harmful effects associated with smoking and second-hand smoke.

Today— May 31, 2011—is “World No Tobacco Day,” which has been implemented by the World Health Organization (WHO) in order to raise awareness of the harmful effects associated with smoking, as well as the effects of second-hand smoke.

The WHO has predicted that tobacco will be the cause the deaths of nearly 6 million people this year; sadly, this number will include 600,000 non-smokers, who will die from the effects of secondhand smoke.

If an intervention does not take place, it is estimated that by the year 2030, as many as 8 million people will die yearly from the effects of tobacco.

“World No Tobacco Day” is observed in many parts of the world, and already there are numerous organizations worldwide announcing how they plan to honor this day and do their part in the battle against tobacco:

  • The organization Ontario Coalition for Smoke-Free Movies is actively seeking to ban smoking in films targeted to young audiences.
  • More than 50,000 taxicab drivers in Mumbai have pledged to disallow smoking in their cars, from either themselves or their passengers, in order to cut down on secondhand smoke exposure.
  • The Rhode Island Department of Health has planned a “social media blitz” by issuing anti-smoking Tweets, as well as using Facebook and having their members text individual contacts; their Facebook message which will state,"3 months after you quit smoking, your lung function improves up to 30%. But right now, you’re one day closer to emphysema. Today is World No Tobacco Day. Take a stand. Quit. Visit www.quitnowri.com or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for help. Reposting of this message is strongly encouraged and appreciated."

“World No Tobacco Day” is a result of many governments failing to do enough to keep their citizens safe from the harmful effects of tobacco, said the WHO. 172 countries and the European Union have joined the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The FCTC was implemented in 2005, and forces nations partaking in it to make an effort to decrease smoking rates, minimize exposure to second hand smoke, and curtail tobacco advertising and promotion.

This, however, is still not enough, said WHO director-general Margaret Chan said in a statement. "Countries must also pass, or strengthen, the necessary implementing legislation [for smoking] and then rigorously enforce it,” said Chan.