Don’t Let Tobacco Take Your Breath Away – World No Tobacco Day

Don’t Let Tobacco Take Your Breath Away – World No Tobacco Day

by Dr. Lakshmi Venkataraman on May 30 2019 3:48 PM
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  • World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) is observed on the 31st May annually to spread awareness among the general public about the harmful effects of tobacco ranging from lung cancer to serious lung and heart disease and to discourage its use
  • According to statistics, 7 million deaths each year are related to tobacco use; over 6 million of these are due to direct use of tobacco and nearly a million deaths are due to inhalation of second-hand smoke
  • Monitoring tobacco use by regular surveys of representative populations is key to determine the extent and seriousness of the problem and to put in place strict regulations to curb the menace of tobacco use
World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) 2019 focuses on how tobacco smoke impacts lung health causing several diseases ranging from lung cancer, bronchitis, asthma, tuberculosis as well as a major contributor to indoor pollution.


What We Can Do To Support ‘World No Tobacco Day’ Campaign

  • Download campaign material from the website and share widely on social media such as Facebook and Twitter
  • Distribute information leaflets on the dangerous health effects of tobacco to the general public in prominent places such as parks and malls
  • Organize a marathon or walk in your community to raise awareness about World No Tobacco Day
  • Make a personal contribution or raise funds to support the WNTD campaign
  • Print and visual media should carry prominent advertisements, articles and programs highlighting the ill effects of tobacco
  • Administration should be urged to enforce no-smoking zones to protect persons from secondhand smoke exposure with strict punishment for offenders
  • Hospitals and clinics must offer free advice and counseling to tobacco users who wish to quit
  • Educational institutions and organizations must conduct seminars or webinars to educate youth about the harmful effects of tobacco to discourage them from starting smoking
  • Cigarette companies must display graphic warnings on cigarette and tobacco covers to help smokers quit as well as discourage youth from starting to smoke
  • Government must increase taxes on tobacco products to reduce tobacco use


Health Risks of Tobacco

Tobacco can be chewed, used as a snuff or smoked as cigarettes. In whichever form it is used, it has several ill effects on the health.

Chewing Tobacco/Snuff

Smoking Tobacco

  • Cancer of oral cavity – lips, tongue, cheek, gums, roof and floor of the mouth
  • Stomach and esophageal cancer
  • Nasal cavity cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Staining of teeth and gums
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum recession
  • Loss of teeth
  • Increased risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Lung cancer
  • Stroke
  • Blindness
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Fracture hip
  • Birth defects in the baby if the mother smokes during pregnancy
  • Gum disease
  • Fertility issues


Tobacco Facts and Figures & Regulating Tobacco Use

  • Tobacco use causes about 7 million deaths annually worldwide
  • Over 80% of smokers live in low and middle-income countries
  • Second-hand smoke inhalation is as harmful as direct smoking
  • Only 1 in 3 countries globally routinely monitor tobacco use through surveys
  • Only 37 countries or 15% of the global population have banned tobacco ads, sponsorships by the tobacco industry and promotion of tobacco

Tips to Quit Smoking/ Tobacco Use

  • It is not easy to quit smoking as it is a form of addiction
  • Firstly, resolve to quit smoking
  • Make a list of reasons on why you should quit smoking
  • Keep a photo of your family in your wallet and look at it when you crave to smoke
  • Consult your doctor for advice about nicotine replacement therapy
  • Seek the support of friends and family and tell them that you are planning to quit
  • Avoid triggers that make you want to smoke
  • Join a support group to help you quit
  • Studies have shown exercise induces secretion of chemicals by the brain that reduces craving
  • Make non-smoking friends and hang out with them

History of World No Tobacco Day (WNTD)

The World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) was established in 1987 by the member states of the WHO. In the past three decades, the campaign has been met with mixed emotions ranging from enthusiasm from public health organizations, and governments and an equal amount of resistance from smokers, the tobacco lobby and tobacco industry.

In summary, the ‘World No Tobacco Day’ (WNTD) is observed on the 31st of May in order to create awareness on the adverse health effects of tobacco use and to discourage tobacco in any form.

  1. World No Tobacco Day 2019 - (
  2. Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking - (
  3. World No Tobacco Day - (
  4. 10 Health Effects Caused by Smoking You Didn't Know About - (