Get this: There are more than one billion smokers on planet Earth. Yep, that’s a billion people around the world whose nicotine addiction is leading to high rates of cancer and emphysema, increased air pollution and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking causes more deaths each year than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined!
So what to do about it? For starters, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared May 31 as “World No Tobacco Day.” For this year’s theme, WHO is focusing on women and girls—who make up about 20% of all smokers worldwide. That’s more than 200 million women and girls who may not be getting all the facts!
But fortunately, the trend with teens is going in the right direction. The latest Monitoring the Future report of teens in 8th, 10th and 12th grades found that Cigarette smoking among U.S. teens is at its lowest point since the survey started in 1975. That’s a fact worth celebrating, since smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in this country, which means the best way to avoid these negative consequences is not to start.
Other trends are not so good, including the one showing that advertisers are targeting more girls outside the U.S., who may not know as much about the dangers of smoking.
Everyone can take a step toward making May 31 tobacco-free—in your family, your school, your community, or the world. If you or someone you love smokes, get the facts. The American Cancer Society is a good place to start, with a Guide to Quitting Smoking.
Make every day a No-Tobacco Day!
Worldwide, nearly 6 million people die each year because of tobacco use. That’s enough to fill about 60 average football stadiums.
Tomorrow is World No Tobacco Day, which is organized by the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Free Initiative. This year’s theme is: Ban Tobacco Advertising, Promotion, and Sponsorship.
The World Health Organization believes that tobacco is so deadly that all promotion of tobacco products should be outlawed. The United States already has set many limits on tobacco promotion.
In the U.S., it’s illegal to:
- Sell tobacco products to people under age 18.
- Sell cigarettes in packs of fewer than 20.
- Sell tobacco products in vending machines.
- Give out free samples of tobacco products.
Tobacco companies in the United States are banned from:
- Using their name in sponsorship at any athletic, musical, social, or cultural event.
- Using music or sound effects in audio ads—they can only use words.
- Selling hats and t-shirts with tobacco brand logos.
- Selling flavored tobacco products.
- Advertising on television.
Of course, more work is needed to keep people from using tobacco products. Research has proven that tobacco negatively affects the health of both your body and brain. What’s more, smoking doesn’t just harm smokers—it also harms everyone around them.
Comment on this post and tell us what you think. Do you think tobacco promotion should be banned completely? Do you know anyone who has gotten sick from smoking?