Each year on May 31 the World Health Organizations, or WHO, and its affiliates across the globe come together to recognize World No Tobacco Day. This annual event aims to highlight the health risks associated with tobacco use in all of its forms.
The WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health issues among the Unite Nations systems. It provides leadership on many of the matter which shape health research, setting standards, and conveying evidence to better back policy which they wish to implement.
Tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of death around the world and is responsible for 10% of deaths each day. The theme for this years No Tobacco Day is aimed directly at the ban of tobacco advertising, its sponsorship, and promotion. According to the World Health Organization, evidence shows that just the mere reduction in advertising in a demographic significantly reduces smoking rates. Banning these advertisements is also one of the most cost effective ways to help combat this epidemic since there is no money to be spent once a ban is in place.
In other regards to financial aspects, the organization also points out the money spent on medical expense from smoking negatively effecting not just those who smoke but all members of society. With much of the health care reform, every American will begin absorbing health care costs under the policies.
The ban this year though, specifically targets the deceptive and misleading nature of tobacco marketing campaigns. Oftentimes, youth are unavoidably exposed to marketing of this nature and the failure of the industry to self regulate itself to prevent this from happening. As of today, only 6 percent of the world's population is protected from this type of exposure.
Other staggering figures which WHO uses to back their campaign is that the tobacco epidemic kills 6 million people each year. By 2030, this number is expected to grow to over 8 million. Four out of five of these deaths are completely preventable and among low and middle income demographics.
With awareness days such as these, it becomes much easier to educate the youth of our communities about the devastating health consequences of tobacco use. Another goal of the campaign is to point out that while most ads are aimed at cigarettes and smoking, that smokeless tobacco is also a huge cause for concern.
Hopes that these movements will spur countries to implement WHO FCTC Article 13 and its Guidelines to comprehensively ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship such that fewer people start and continue to use tobacco. Efforts to drive local, national and international groups are also being used to counteract tobacco industry efforts to undermine tobacco control. Currently there are many legal battles which WHO deems as attempts stall or stop comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.