World No Tobacco Day

Stop Illicit Trade of Tobacco Products

World No Tobacco Day 2015
Help stop the illicit trade in tobacco products. Photo courtesy of the WHO

World No Tobacco Day

World No Tobacco Day is observed each year on May 31 to help make people more aware of:

  • the dangers of using tobacco products, including all of the preventable disease and death they cause - 6 million deaths each year worldwide, including 600,000 deaths from exposure to secondhand smoke
  • tobacco companies business practices
  • what the World Health Organization is doing to combat the epidemic of tobacco use

    And most importantly, World No Tobacco Day helps to inform people worldwide on what they “can do to claim their right to health and healthy living and to protect future generations.”

    World No Tobacco Day Themes

    Created in 1987, previous themes of World No Tobacco Day have included:

    • 2014 Raise taxes on tobacco
    • 2013 Ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
    • 2012 Tobacco industry interference
    • 2011 The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
    • 2010 Gender and tobacco with an emphasis on marketing to women
    • 2009 Tobacco health warnings
    • 2008 Tobacco-free youth
    • 2007 Smoke free inside
    • 2006 Tobacco: deadly in any form or disguise
    • 2005 Health professionals against tobacco
    • 2004 Tobacco and poverty, a vicious circle
    • 2003 Tobacco free film, tobacco free fashion
    • 2002 Tobacco free sports
    • 2001 Second-hand smoke kills
    • 2000 Tobacco kills, don't be duped
    • 1999 Leave the pack behind
    • 1998 Growing up without tobacco
    • 1997 United for a tobacco free world
    • 1996 Sport and art without tobacco: play it tobacco free
    • 1995 Tobacco costs more than you think
    • 1994 Media and tobacco: get the message across
    • 1993 Health services: our windows to a tobacco free world
    • 1992 Tobacco free workplaces: safer and healthier
    • 1991 Public places and transport: better be tobacco free
    • 1990 Childhood and youth without tobacco: growing up without tobacco
    • 1989 Women and tobacco: the female smoker: at added risk
    • 1988 Tobacco or Health: choose health

    World No Tobacco Day

    The theme of last year's World No Tobacco Day was to “Stop illicit trade of tobacco products.”

    According to the CDC and WHO:

    • the illicit trade of tobacco products includes bootlegging, counterfeiting, and smuggling tobacco products, in addition to tax avoidance and tax evasion
    • the illicit trade of tobacco products makes it harder to prevent and control tobacco use as makes them cheaper and easier to get and also reduces tax revenue
    • these products may not include health warnings on them
    • illicit tobacco products are sometimes sold by children and help criminal groups make money

    How big a problem is this?

    The National Academy of Sciences reports that “An estimated one in 10 cigarettes consumed worldwide and 8 percent to 21 percent of those consumed in the United States are illicit.”

    To help eliminate the illicit trade of tobacco products, the goal of the WHO and this year’s World No Tobacco Day is to “Promote the ratification of, accession to and use of the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products by all Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and its early entry into force through the active involvement of all relevant stakeholders.”

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