World No Tobacco Day 2023

9 May 2023

world no tobacco day
The World Health Organisation (WHO) celebrates
World No Tobacco Day on the 31st of May every year. This annual event is organized to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking and encourage people to quit the habit. 

Globally, nearly 8 million people die prematurely each year from smoking. It is the reason for 1 out of 5 deaths in certain countries. Smoking is linked to a host of health problems, including vision-related issues. Those who smoke are at higher risk for cataracts and early vision loss.

With tobacco being the leading cause of disability, preventable diseases, and death in the United States, it is important to understand the significance of World No Tobacco Day. Let’s explore what it’s for, why it’s important, and how you can participate in anti-smoking efforts in your community!

Why Is World No Tobacco Day Important?

Each day, around 1,600 youth try their first cigarette. For most, this is the first step to a lifelong addiction which can be nearly impossible to overcome.

Nearly 480,000 people die due to smoking every year in the United States. Meanwhile, secondhand smoke is responsible for the death of 41,000 Americans annually. 

Two thousand years since man began chewing and smoking tobacco, the habit has become a global epidemic. Secondhand smoke contributes to 600,000 deaths which means that even non-smokers aren’t safe from the dangerous impacts of smoking. The youth is especially susceptible to this habit. Containing 250 harmful chemicals, one person dies every 4.5 seconds from tobacco-related diseases. 

As shocking as these statistics are, they are unfortunately not common knowledge. Hence, they haven’t discouraged many people from smoking. 

World No Tobacco Day is, therefore, an extremely important day for society as it helps educate people about the risks associated with tobacco use. It spreads awareness about the adverse effects of tobacco across people of all ages, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

The harmful effects of tobacco are well-documented. Smoking only maintains its popularity as a habit because it’s normalized, glorified, and romanticized in pop culture. It is important to combat such perceptions with education and awareness so that people quit smoking.

With the growing number of e-cigarettes or vapes taking the world by storm, it is particularly essential to raise awareness regarding the health risks associated with tobacco and nicotine. 

World No Tobacco Day 2023 Theme: “We Need Food Not Tobacco”

Smoking tobacco isn’t just a dirty and unhealthy habit. It is also exacerbating the food crisis though tobacco companies say otherwise by touting the industry as the livelihood of tobacco farmers. 

In an effort to expose how farming the crop harms the environment while making food insecurity worse, 2023’s World No Tobacco Day’s theme is, “We need food, not tobacco.”

It aims to shed light on how the tobacco industry is impacting poverty, food shortage, and our ecosystem. Tobacco farming demands massive amounts of irrigation and the heavy use of pesticides and fertilizers. In addition, it contributes to large-scale deforestation and leads to the contamination of air and water systems. At the same time, it makes land less fertile, reducing its ability to support other crops.

Despite the fact that the industry was valued at $867.6 billion in 2022, those who grow this “cash crop” don’t get to enjoy its profitability. Many farmers who farm tobacco don’t make enough money to support their households and are incapable of sustaining losses. Several countries that export tobacco are low to middle-income and have been known to face food shortages and even hunger.

World No Tobacco Day draws global attention to its harmful effects on our health, the environment, and social issues like poverty and the food crisis. The public is also informed of the anti-social practices of tobacco companies and how the tobacco epidemic can be controlled to protect future generations.

How Can You Get Involved in Your Community?

If fighting tobacco use is a cause you’re passionate about, here are some things you can do on World No Tobacco Day:

  • Organize an event such as a seminar or workshop to educate people about the dangers of tobacco use. You can also spread information through social media, posters, and flyers.
  • Talk to your friends and family to encourage them to quit smoking.
  • Write to your local government representatives or policymakers to advocate for anti-tobacco regulations.
  • Advocate for smoke-free spaces and request local establishments such as restaurants and cafes to prohibit smoking.
  • Organize support groups for smokers who are trying to quit and create a safe space for their rehabilitation.
  • Tobacco addiction can be a symptom of mental health issues so you can also look for ways to promote better mental health in your community.

It may be difficult to single handedly organize and execute World No Tobacco Day events so you should consider finding support from people who share your views. Keep in mind that it may not be possible to make drastic changes overnight, but even minor steps can snowball and create a lasting effect when enough people work together toward a common cause. 

IMANA and Its Commitment to Health

The Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA) is committed to helping individuals live healthier and happier lives. We enact several measures to achieve these goals which include education and awareness programs. If you have an organization that strives to raise awareness of this issue, please do not hesitate to contact us.