Extinguishing Tobacco Deaths Around the World

World No Tobacco Day celebrates progress in fighting epidemic

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Did you know that tobacco will kill 6 million people around the world this year? And by 2030, that number will be 8 million. The World Health Organization (WHO) is leading the fight against this epidemic.

May 31st is World No Tobacco Day. Established by the World Health Organization, this day celebrates the success of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

"World No Tobacco Day celebrates efforts to extinguish tobacco deaths."

Established by the organization in 2003, the European Union and 172 countries have adopted WHO FCTC as a treaty for battling the millions of deaths caused by tobacco use. The framework outlines the mission and participants agree to:

  • protect people from being exposed to tobacco smoke
  • ban sale and advertising of tobacco to minors
  • use large health warnings on tobacco packaging
  • limit or ban tobacco additives
  • create a system for countries to coordinate the control of tobacco

Around the world, tobacco contributes to 63 percent of all deaths - from heart attack, cancer, stroke and emphysema. About half of the people who use tobacco will die from a disease related to its use.

WHO says that a number of countries have made huge progress in implementing the treaty, including: Australia, Uruguay, Mauritius, Ireland, Sri Lanka, Iran, China and Turkey.

Dr Haik Nikogosian, Head of the treaty, says that while these strides are impressive, more needs to be done, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

The Director of WHO's Tobacco Free Initiative, Dr. Douglas Bettcher, says tobacco companies routinely try to undermine governmental attempts to control tobacco use. According to Bettcher, this area is seeing improvement, but more progress is needed.

The WHO FCTC was implemented in 2005. World No Tobacco Day is dedicated to helping inform the public about the dangers of tobacco, expose the practices of the tobacco industry and tell the story of what WHO is doing to fight the growing tobacco-related health epidemic.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 31, 2011
Last Updated:
October 18, 2012