World No Tobacco Day 2012
Today marks the World Health Organization's 25th annual World No Tobacco Day. The day is meant to encourage a 24 hour period of abstinence from all forms of forms of tobacco, all around the world, and to draw attention to the negative health effects of tobacco use.
Tobacco use is one of the leading preventable causes of death, claiming nearly 6 million lives each year, of which more than 600.000 are people exposed to second-hand smoke. If it continues at the current rate, it will kill up to 8 million people by 2030, of which more than 80 percent live in low- and middle-income countries.
Previous World No Tobacco Day campaigns have focused on themes which we now take for granted, and which have been substantiated by research. These include the dangers of second-hand smoke, the heightened vulnerability of young people to the dangers of smoking as well as tobacco-related advertising, and the need for and effectiveness of indoor smoking bans.
This year's theme of "Tobacco Industry Interference" focuses on exposing and counteracting the tobacco industry's increasingly aggressive attempts to undermine the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control because of the serious danger they pose to public health. World No Tobacco Day 2012 will educate policy-makers and the general public about the various tactics the tobacco industry employs in its efforts to subvert tobacco control efforts.
As more countries move to fully meet their obligations under the WHO FCTC, the tobacco industry's efforts to undermine the treaty are becoming ever more energetic and creative.
These attempts are multifaceted, and focus on areas such as countries' attempts to ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship and to ban smoking in enclosed public places. Industry influence may very well have played a role in the Dutch government's recent rollbacks of anti-smoking legislation.
On the World Health Organization's website you can find more information on World No Tobacco Day 2012, as well as information about the benefits of quitting and where you can get help.