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World No Tobacco Day 2021: Smokers 50 per cent more likely to death due to COVID-19

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World No Tobacco Day 2021 is an annual event observed on May 31 to raise awareness among people regarding the harmful effects of Tobacco on health. This campaign also urges people to a healthy lifestyle amid the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 1988, World Health Organisation's World Health Assembly passed a resolution WHA42.19, calling for the celebration of World No Tobacco Day. WHO said, "Over 70 per cent of the 1.3 billion tobacco users worldwide lack access to the tools they need to quit successfully. This gap in access to cessation services is only further exacerbated in the last year as the health workforce has been mobilized to handle the pandemic."

According to 2018 research published in the SAGE Journal, India is the second-largest consumer of tobacco. Not just this, as per WHO, 8 million people die every year due to adverse effects of Tobacco.

World No Tobacco Day 2021 History

 

WHO's World Health Assembly, on April 7, 1988, passed a resolution WHA42.19, calling for the celebration of this day. The aim to observe this campaign was to "draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable disease and death it causes." Ever since then, this day is celebrated to urge people to quit tobacco.

World No Tobacco Day 2021 Theme

This year's theme is "Commit to Quit". This campaign encourages people to quit tobacco for a healthier life. To create awareness, several exhibitions and events are organised by WHO to make people understand its harmful effects. However, just like last year, even this year, no public campaign will happen due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But people can organise a virtual event wherein they can educate the people through games or real-life stories.

Harmful Effects of Tobacco

Tobacco can cause various serious diseases, such as lung diseases, tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) etc. Not just this, it can also lead to lung cancer and oral cancer. According to the data by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), tobacco accounts for approximately 30 per cent of all cancers in India.

Create a Tobacco-free environment: WHO Chief

“We urge all countries to play their part by joining the WHO campaign and creating tobacco-free environments that give people the information, support and tools they need to quit and quit for good,” WHO chief, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus added.The World Health Organisation, in an attempt to support the individuals worldwide struggling to quit tobacco, has made resources from its ‘commit to quit tobacco’ freely available. The campaign has reportedly benefitted millions, less than five months since it started.

The campaign, which currently has 29 focus countries apart from the rest of the world will continue to run till the end of 2021. Amongst the 29 focus countries, each country has agreed on a WHO-selected activity to reduce Tobacco consumption.

This includes releasing new digital tools to help those trying to quit tobacco, running awareness campaigns at various levels, revising policies, establishing national toll-free quitlines, engaging youth and supporting nicotine replacement therapies through WHO partners.

Available on platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Viber, WHO’s Quit Challenge gives regular notifications as for the tips of encouragement for up to six months to help people quit tobacco.

Of all the population in the world, close to 40 per cent of men and 10 per cent of women consume tobacco in some form, with the highest smoking rates found in Europe at above 26 per cent. Like every year, World No Tobacco Day will be observed this year on 31 May.


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