Tobacco – A Threat To Development: #WorldNoTobaccoDay

“The best way to stop smoking is to just stop – no ifs, ands or butts.” Edith Zittler

More than 7 million people are killed every year by tobacco, 12% of who died over 30 are caused by tobacco, and there are over 226 million adult users who live in poverty. Despite having low incomes, some households spent 10% on tobacco products resulting to less money for food, education, and healthcare. Women and children are also being targeted by the tobacco industry by signifying that tobacco use improves gender equality, glamor, sociability, and success. Up to 7 in 10 tobaccos farm workers are women and are in a close contact with the often dangerous chemical. 1 in 2 children are exposed to secondhand smoke and up to 14% of children from families who farm tobacco don’t attend school and work in tobacco fields. The facts are laid, tobacco threatens everyone and therefore should be stopped.


“Tobacco is a major barrier to development globally,” WHO’s Director of the Department for the Prevention on NCDs, Dr. Douglas Bettcher. “Tobacco-related death and illness are drivers of poverty, leaving households without breadwinners, diverting limited household resources to purchase tobacco products rather than food and school materials, and forcing many people to pay for medical expenses.”


The World Health Organization first introduced World No Tobacco Day. On May 1987, a resolution was passed by WHO. A year after, World No Smoking Day was celebrated in April and was later on changed to World No Tobacco Day on May 31, 1989. WHO is also the central hub for organizing World No Tobacco Day. Global organizations, state governments, and public health organizations organize programs and campaigns such as public debates, health camp, advertising campaign, public art, rallies, and parades. Some even keep a steady watch on companies associated with selling purchasing, and advertising of tobacco.


“Tobacco threatens us all,” WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan stated. “Tobacco exacerbates poverty, reduces economic productivity, contributes to poor household food choices, and pollutes indoor air.”

“But by taking robust tobacco control measures, governments can safeguard their countries’ futures by protecting tobacco users and non-users from these deadly products, generating revenues to fund health and other social services, and saving their environments from the ravages tobacco causes,” Dr. Chan added.


People are working hand-in-hand for an environment free from pollution. The tobacco is one of the largest preventable causes of noncommunicable disease, if everybody does their own part change will be within arms’ reach.


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