There are a few important dates in the calendar to mark the fight against smoking cigarettes and to promote cessation. For example, in October, one of the largest campaigns in the UK called Stoptober takes place annually to help those looking to quit cigarettes for good. And another key date celebrated each year is World No Tobacco Day, which isn’t just campaigned in the UK but on a global scale.
This is because it’s the number one biggest preventable killer worldwide and tobacco plays a huge role in its danger to humans. To understand more, read on to know when the date is each year, what they do to promote the event and the impact it’s had since its inception.
When is World No Tobacco Day?
Each year World No Tobacco Day is celebrated on May 31st worldwide – with the slogan ‘Let’s Make Every Day a World No Tobacco Day’. Organised and promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO), it is observed by all United Nations (UN) Member States. Created in 1987, it’s not too far off 40 years in existence to help curb the tobacco epidemic. With eight million deaths each year from tobacco use, it’s an important initiative.
Is There a Theme Each Year?
Yes, there is, with the message for 2023 focusing on the slogan ‘We Need Food, Not Tobacco’. The aim this year is to highlight how tobacco negatively influences a range of factors, from the planet’s health and growth to the global food crisis. It impacts the livelihood of farmers, obviously impacts the overall health of those who smoke and damages the planet. The campaign hopes to ‘end tobacco growing subsidies’ and benefit from that by supporting farmers to create more sustainable crops that produce food nutrition and security for generations to come. The objectives below from the campaign highlight their main goals:
- Mobilize governments to end subsidies on tobacco growing and use of savings for crop substitution programmes that support farmers to switch and improve food security and nutrition.
- Raise awareness in tobacco farming communities about the benefits of moving away from tobacco and growing sustainable crops;
- Support efforts to combat desertification and environmental degradation by decreasing tobacco farming;
- Expose industry efforts to obstruct sustainable livelihoods work.
In previous years, the focus has been on different areas with varied messages that then take up the highest proportion of their targets for the following year. So while this year the spotlight is on reducing tobacco and increasing farms and food production, in 2022 the message was centred around improving the environment which is impacted by tobacco use.
The Facts About Tobacco
- It costs the world 600 million trees
- Tobacco takes 200 000 hectares of land
- We lose 22 billion tonnes of water and 84 million tonnes of CO2.
- Forests are removed globally and tobacco is often grown in low and middle-income countries, where land is needed more to create food for locals
- They are the most littered item on the planet
- Roughly 4.5 trillion cigarette filters pollute our oceans, rivers, city sidewalks, parks, soil and beaches every year
For more information, you can download this useful guide from WHO about how tobacco is poisoning our planet.
What Can You Do?
The clear solution that will not only improve your health drastically but others in your space is to quit cigarettes that contain tobacco. There are plenty of alternatives out there which can help to stop the addictive habit of smoking, which boils down to thousands of toxic chemicals, as well as addictive ingredients like nicotine and sugar. Examples like nicotine gum and patches help but it’s also stated that vaping is seen as the easier replacement to transition from smoking. While it is also not a healthy habit, it is considered to be safer than cigarettes.
To conclude, as highlighted, WHO for nearly 40 years is campaigning each year on World No Tobacco Day to improve our health, the safety of the planet and to create better lives for many for years to come. It’s up to each individual to evaluate the risk they’re doing to themselves and do their part to save the planet too.