World No Tobacco Day

Today health advocates from around the globe can gather together to say no to tobacco on World No Tobacco Day 2012. World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) is organized by the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Free Initiative, which strives to reduce deaths caused by smoking and secondhand smoke. World No Tobacco Day encourages a full day of abstinence from all tobacco products every May 31 to raise awareness about health issues related to tobacco and its effect on others.

Since its institution in 1987, WNTD has had a different thematic focus each year. This year the theme is “Stop Tobacco Industry Interference,” referring to the legal action taken by the tobacco industry in many countries to counter anti-smoking legislation.

According to article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, WHO member countries are urged to “protect public health policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry.” World No Tobacco Day 2012 is a call to arms against those tobacco lobbies, referencing a list of guidelines for dealing with industry interference. According to the WHO, incidents of industry interference have included:

  • *Attempts to hijack the political and legislative process
  • *Exaggerating the economic importance of the tobacco industry
  • *Manipulating public opinion to gain the appearance of respectability
  • *Fabricating support through front groups
  • *Discrediting proven science
  • *Intimidating governments with litigation or the threat of litigation

Tobacco kills millions of its users, as well as an estimated 600,000 people who are killed from exposure to secondhand smoke. Tobacco is one of the major risk factors for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) like cancer and chronic respiratory disease, which account for 63 percent of all deaths worldwide.

So in honor of World No Tobacco Day, say no to tobacco today and encourage any smoking patients to do the same! Maybe we can catch a glimpse of what a healthy smoke-free world would look like.


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