This annual “World No Tobacco Day” raises awareness of the dangers of tobacco use, the business strategies of tobacco companies, the efforts of the WHO to combat the tobacco epidemic, and what individuals all over the world can do to assert their right to health and a healthy lifestyle and to protect future generations of people around the world.
In 1987, members of the WHO launched “World No Tobacco Day” to raise awareness of the tobacco pandemic and its avoidable death/disease. The World Health Assembly declared 7 April 1988 to be “a world no-smoking day” in Resolution WHA40.38 approved in 1987. Resolution WHA42.19, adopted in 1988, mandates the annual observance of World No Tobacco Day on May 31.
“Tobacco: Threat to our environment” is the theme of the 2022 World No Tobacco Day worldwide campaign, which was announced by the World Health Organization. The campaign’s goal is to educate the general public about tobacco’s negative influence on the environment, including its manufacturing, transportation, and disposal. It will offer smokers another reason to give up their habit.
By portraying itself as ecologically benign, the tobacco industry hopes to “greenwash” its image and products, and this is one way they hope to accomplish that goal.
The tobacco business wastes resources and harms ecosystems by emitting 84 megatons of CO2 equivalent per year, making it a significant contributor to climate change and weaker climate resilience.
Tobacco plantations devastate an estimated 3.5 million acres of land each year. Deforestation is exacerbated by the cultivation of tobacco, particularly in underdeveloped countries. “Failing yields” or the ability of the land to sustain other crops or flora is harmed by deforestation for tobacco plantations.
“The environmental impacts of tobacco use add unnecessary pressure to our planet’s already scarce resources and fragile ecosystems. This is especially dangerous for developing countries, as that’s where most of the tobacco production happens.” said Dr. Ruediger Krech, WHO’s Director of Health Promotion, “Every cigarette you smoke, you are literally burning resources where they are already scarce, burning resources where our very existence depends upon.”
As the environmental cost falls on the poorest nations, multinational cigarette businesses operating in wealthy countries reap the rewards.
Tobacco’s influence on various socioeconomic classes is very unequal, given that the majority of its manufacturing takes place in underdeveloped countries. There is a widespread belief that the cash crop of tobacco may provide economic growth in low and middle-income countries, but this belief is tempered by the long-term negative results of food insecurity, farmers’ illness, poverty, debt, and widespread environmental damage.
By reporting environmental effects and sponsoring environmental corporate social responsibility programs and groups, the tobacco industry has spent extensively in “greenwashing” its ecologically detrimental activities and is functional due to a lack of objective data and contradictory international and local regulations.
In order to achieve all of the sustainable goals, not just those relating to health, reducing tobacco usage must be a primary focus.
When it comes time to establish or improve current policies, the campaign asks that legislators make sure that cigarette companies bear the financial and ecological consequences of their waste.
Get some ideas on how you or your community can assist young people to stay tobacco-free or successfully quit on World No Tobacco Day.
Tobacco and the U.S. Youth: The Numbers
About 40% of middle and high school students in the United States reported smoking any form of tobacco product, which includes e-cigarettes.
Most American people who smoke regularly began doing so before the age of 18, according to research. Even e-cigarettes are dangerous for young people since they contain nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive substance found in a variety of tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco, cigarettes, and the majority of e-cigarettes. The effects of nicotine on the brain remain through adolescence and into adulthood. The brain’s ability to focus, learn, and regulate impulses may be damaged by nicotine use during these crucial years.
Targeting Young People
Nicotine dependence is more prone to develop in children and adolescents who begin using tobacco products at a young age. It is used by cigarette companies in a variety of ways to target young people, including advertising and sponsorships in shops, online, through media, and at cultural events.
Many studies in the United States and throughout the world have demonstrated that the more advertisements for tobacco products that children and adolescents are exposed to, the more prone they are to utilize tobacco products themselves. According to the Surgeon General of the United States, seeing a movie where characters smoke increases a person’s likelihood of starting to smoke. PG-13 films with smoking scenes have decreased during the last 15 years, while the number of films that show smoking has increased.
Tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, appeal to young people because of their enticing tastes. Cigarettes with flavors other than menthol have been banned from being sold in the United States since 2009. Despite this, young people are much more prone to consume menthol cigarettes than their elders. E-cigarette usage among young people is also fueled by the use of flavorings. For more than two-thirds of all young people who presently use e-cigarettes, flavoring is a significant factor in their decision to begin using them.
The Threat of E-Cigarettes to Youth
In the years after 2014, an increasing number of American teenagers who stated they had used tobacco products had admitted to smoking e-cigarettes. It’s not uncommon for electronic cigarettes to include nicotine; newer models employ nicotine salts, a type that makes it simpler to inhale larger doses of nicotine.
As the use of e-cigarettes among US middle and high school children has increased recently, the CDC has developed tools to assist parents, teachers, and healthcare professionals in their discussions with students about the dangers of vaping.
What You Can Do?
Tobacco use in children, adolescents, and young adults may be prevented by everyone, from those who have direct contact with them to whole communities.
Parents and other caregivers can:
- By abstaining from smoking, you’ll be setting a positive example for others.
- Disclose to children the dangers of using tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes.
- Be aware of the media your children are exposed to, and use that knowledge to your advantage when addressing the issue of smoking.
- Tell your children that you expect them to abstain from or reduce their usage of tobacco products.
- Tobacco products should never be given to anybody, let it be young or adult.
Healthcare providers can:
- Educate their patients about the consequences of smoking.
- Patients who smoke should be encouraged to stop.
States and communities can:
- State tobacco control programs should be funded at the amount recommended by the CDC.
- Tobacco product advertising should be restricted.
- Cigarette price rises, hard-hitting media campaigns, complete smoke-free regulations, licensing tobacco dealers, and restricting where tobacco products may be marketed are all effective ways to prevent and decrease tobacco usage.
- Ensure easy access to therapies that have been shown to be effective in helping individuals stop smoking.
- We can make significant progress toward a smoke-free society if we all act together to protect our children from the dangers of tobacco use.
Effects of Smoking on Health
Smoking Affects Your Appearance:
Immediately after quitting, you’ll notice a noticeable improvement in your physical look. There are numerous beneficial improvements that smokers experience after quitting, including more energy and financial resources as well as better-tasting food and more quality years in their lives.
Smoking and Cancer:
The lungs, esophagus, larynx (voice box), mouth, throat/pharynx, and blood are among the many organs where tobacco smoke that contains at least 70 chemicals is known to cause cancer.
Smoking and other Diseases:
Smoking damages all of the body’s organs and raises the risk of contracting a wide range of illnesses that are non-communicable.
- Tobacco use destroys blood arteries, increasing the risk of heart attacks and stroke. Tobacco use even in little doses may raise your risk of coronary heart disease.
- Smoking causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthmatic attacks
- Tobacco use is linked to elevated blood pressure because it causes the heart to pump quicker and narrows the arteries, resulting in narrowing.
- Type 2 diabetes is more likely to occur if a person smoke
The Health Benefits of Quitting
Take a look at how quitting smoking affects your health in the long run:
- After twenty minutes heart rate and blood pressure drop
- After 12 hours your blood carbon monoxide level returns to normal.
- Improved blood flow in 2 to 3 weeks. The functioning of the lungs improves.
- Coughing and shortness of breath go away in a period of 1-9 months. Infections are less likely to occur.
- The risk of heart disease falls to half as compared to that of a smoker after one year.
- Lung cancer risk is halved after ten years for nonsmokers. When it comes to oral and throat cancer, the risk decreases.
- The risk of cardiovascular attack is the same as for nonsmokers after 15 years.
Be a part of the “World No Tobacco Day” campaign. It may take numerous tries to give up smoking. If at first, you fail, don’t give up. If you want to stop smoking on this year’s “World No Tobacco Day”, call the toll-free Quitline or see your doctor.
Because of COVID-19, organizations must guarantee that additional potentially deadly smoking-related disorders are not overlooked.