Every year on May 31, people from around the world join to celebrate the World No Tobacco Day. The event is a World Health Organization (WHO) initiative that is aimed to inform the public about the dangers of using tobacco and bring awareness on the business practices of tobacco companies. WHO also takes this opportunity to educate people about their work in fighting the worldwide tobacco epidemic. The lion’s share of the work involves opening the public to the manipulative tactics used by tobacco companies to lure people into purchasing their products.
Billions of dollars are used every year on tobacco advertisements. These often depict people who smoke as being cool, macho, glamorous, and possessing other enviable traits. In contrast, cigarettes are packed with nicotine that is highly engineered to cause addiction, a fact that is fiercely denied by major tobacco companies. Developed countries like the United States have come up with restrictions on how tobacco products can be advertised, but people in most other parts of the world still have to deal with the more rigorous and manipulative advertising tactics.
This is primarily why the World No Tobacco Day was established in 1987. The idea was to draw attention to the risks of using tobacco and the need to adopt better and safer health practices. It’s been thirty years since then, and World No Tobacco Day is now recognized as an important event in generating awareness not only for tobacco use, but for other related issues like secondhand smoke, illegal trade, and tobacco control.
Theme for World No Tobacco Day 2017
Every year, the World Health Organization comes up with a theme to celebrate the World No Tobacco Day. This is essentially geared towards maintaining a more unified international message for the event. The theme is then made the central point of any tobacco-related agendas for the subsequent year. The publicity materials associated with the theme are created and distributed by WHO. These include brochures, websites, posters, fliers, and press releases. For this year, the theme for World No Tobacco Day is “Tobacco – a threat to development.”
About the campaign
World No Tobacco Day 2017 will demonstrate the threats posed by the tobacco industry in terms of sustainable development. It will also suggest measures that both you and your government can take to facilitate health and development, particularly when it comes to fighting the global tobacco crisis. The campaign will highlight the connection between the use of tobacco products and sustainable development, and then encourage individual countries to incorporate tobacco control in their 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
WHO uses the World No Tobacco Day to offer their support to member states and the civil society in their fight against the tobacco industry’s interference in political issues. This is aimed to enhance the national tobacco control efforts. The event also encourages you the public to participate in national, regional, and international campaigns for developing and implementing development plans and strategies revolving around tobacco control.
During the 2017 World No Tobacco Day, the World Health Organization will demonstrate how you can contribute towards making the world more sustainable and tobacco-free, either by quitting the smoking habit or committing to stop taking up tobacco products. Tobacco has been shown to be one of the leading causes of noncommunicable diseases such as cancers, cardiovascular disease, and chronic obstructed pulmonary disease.
How controlling tobacco use can help achieve other international goals
Apart from reducing health inequalities and saving lives, controlling the use of tobacco can curb the adverse environmental impact that comes with growing, manufacturing, trading, and consuming tobacco. It can break the cycle of poverty, help end hunger, combat climate change, and promote economic growth and sustainable agriculture. The government can help by increasing taxes on tobacco products and then using the funds to finance development programs like universal health coverage.
You, as an individual, can contribute by committing to never taking up tobacco products or seek help about your smoking habit. This will not only promote your health, but will also reduce second hand smoke you expose to your friends, family members, and even children. On the other hand, you can use the money not spent on tobacco to fund other significant areas, like education, your healthcare, and purchasing healthy food.