May 31

World No Tobacco Day (May 31, 2020)

Written by Tabinda | posted in Events | 0 Comments

Tobacco kills!! Yes we have heard it since our childhood. But do we really take it seriously? No we don’t because it’s obvious from the data that smoking kills around 6 million people every year worldwide, if would have taken it seriously the  use of tobacco would not be that  common all around the world.

The bitter truth is if tobacco were a deadly virus, we would invest millions in developing vaccines to prevent it or medicines to treat it. Instead, the world invests billions in rewarding an industry that destroys human health and causes untold suffering.

Tobacco smoke is extremely harmful to our health. When cigarettes burn, they generate over 7,000 different chemicals, many of which are poisonous and at least 69 of which can cause cancer. Considering these facts, WHO and its partners mark 31st May as the World No Tobacco Day. This day is celebrated to highlight the health and other risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco use.

History of world no tobacco day

The member countries of the World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day in 1986 to draw everyone’s attention to the harm caused by tobacco, tobacco-related diseases, and deaths. First, the world health assembly in its WHA0.38 resolution in 1987 marked April 7 as ‘A World No Tobacco Day’. The following year, in 1986, WHA42.19 resolution declared May 31 of each year as world No Tobacco Day.

Objective of world no tobacco day

The objective of celebrating World No Tobacco Day in the World is to make everyone aware of the dangers of tobacco use and how to make the world tobacco-free. About 10 hundred thousands of people die due to tobacco every year and according to WHO, it is estimated that by 2030 this number will reach 80 lac, but if everyone can be made aware properly, this idea will fail completely.

This day encourages smokers to participate by abstaining from smoking for 24 hours and to spread awareness of the negative health consequences caused by tobacco.

World no tobacco day 2020 theme

This year’s theme is protection of younger generations, focusing on “Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use”. This year’s theme is designed to increase awareness about the negative impact tobacco is having on young people’s health.

How the youth is manipulated to tobacco use?

The tobacco industry attracts the youth towards their product in a lot of fancy ways;

  • Use of flavors that are attractive to youth in tobacco and nicotine products, like cherry, bubble gum and cotton candy, which encourages young people to underestimate the related health risks
  • Sleek designs and attractive products
  • Promotion of products as reduced harm or cleaner
  • Celebrity, sponsorships and brand sponsored contests to promote tobacco and nicotine products
  • Sale of single stick cigarettes and other tobacco and nicotine products near schools, which makes it cheap and easy for school children to access tobacco and nicotine products
  • Indirect marketing of tobacco products in movies, TV shows and online streaming shows

Consequences of smoking

Smoking is very harmful and the smokers are at an increased risk of developing the following conditions;

  • lung cancer
  • leukemia
  • kidney and pancreatic cancer
  • mouth and throat cancer
  • cervical cancer in women
  • Smokers have risk of developing macular degeneration
  • Cataracts
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • emphysema
  • chronic bronchitis
  • blood clots
  • stroke

Smoking not only takes the lives of those who use tobacco, but also those who are exposed to second-hand smoke. It is estimated that around 600,000 people worldwide die as a result of secondhand smoke.  Second hand smokers are the ones who breathe in the air, which is the combination of smoke exhaled by smokers (called mainstream smoke) and smoke emitted from the lit end of a cigarette. Although smoking in public places are currently banned in many countries, but it still needs to be much stricter.

Steps to discontinue smoking


After you quit smoking, the lungs and other smoke-damaged organs start to repair themselves. After 10 years the risk for lung cancer drops by half.


Being physically active can help lower stress levels, improve moods, and reduce the urge to smoke.

In recognition of World No Tobacco Day 2020, and in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, according to WHO smokers are likely to be more vulnerable to COVID-19, as they may also already have lung disease or reduced lung capacity which would greatly increase risk of serious illness. On behalf of NAYS-Pakistan, on this World No Tobacco Day, we would like to highlight the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocates for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

For further reading:

Article: Ms. Sundeela Fayyaz

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