World No Tobacco Day – Save Health, Save Environment

World No Tobacco Day is an annual celebration day held on May 31. It was initiated to promote awareness about the harms caused by tobacco products to people, communities, and the environment. The aim is to protect future generations and to take steps to support effective tobacco control and make the world tobacco-free. 

According to WHO, tobacco causes more than 8 million deaths worldwide each year, and this number is estimated to grow unless anti-tobacco actions are firmly raised. Tobacco is the most significant preventable cause of death and disease. It causes various types of cancers, lung disease, heart disease, stroke, and other health problems.

History Of World No Tobacco Day

The Member States of the World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day in 1987. The World Health Assembly passed resolution WHA40.38 in 1987, calling for April 7 to be “World No-Smoking Day.” The decision was to encourage people to prevent using tobacco for at least 24 hours. The following year, the World Health Assembly passed resolution WHA42.19, calling May 31 an annual observance of “World No Tobacco Day.” It is an initiative of the WHO to fight the epidemic of tobacco. 

In 2008, the WHO prohibited any kind of advertisement or promotion of tobacco. India being the second most highly populous nation globally, it is the second-largest tobacco consumer as well. In 1975, the Indian Government implemented the Cigarette act, making it mandatory for the tobacco product companies to mention a statutory warning on the packs and in their product advertisement. In 1988, the Government of India restricted smoking in public vehicles. Then in 1992, the Government banned the sale of toothpaste and tooth powder containing tobacco. In 2003, Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act was launched, making it compulsory for the companies to display a pictorial warning on the packs of tobacco products.

Also read: International Nurses’ Day

World No tobacco day 2022 theme – “Threat to our environment.”

The harmful impact of tobacco is not limited to the health of human beings, but the industry has an environmental impact as well. Growing tobacco adds unnecessary pressure to the limited resource and fragile ecosystem on earth. 

With every cigarette consumption, we burn the already scarce resources that support life. The theme ‘threat to our environment’ gives one additional reason to quit smoking besides its negative impact on health. It is to bring awareness about the environmental influence of the tobacco cycle, from its cultivation, production, distribution, and the post-consumption waste it generates. 

The tobacco industry plays a significant role in damaging the ecosystem. Growing tobacco leads to deforestation, which ultimately results in soil degradation. Cigarette and e-cigarette waste contributes to soil and water pollution. Smoking causes severe air pollution by releasing toxic pollutants into the air. 

The WHO campaign aims to compel the tobacco industry to greenwash its reputation by presenting the environmental report and funding the corporate social responsibility projects related to the environment.  

The campaign demands the Government and the policymakers to develop policies and legislation that can make the tobacco industry responsible for the environment.