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World No-Tobacco Day, 1992

The theme of the fifth World No-Tobacco Day, May 31, 1992, is "Tobacco-Free Workplaces: Safer and Healthier." Each year, the objectives of World No-Tobacco Day are to encourage governments, communities, and groups worldwide to become aware of the hazards of tobacco use and to encourage all persons who use tobacco to quit for at least 24 hours.

World No-Tobacco Day 1992 will emphasize the right to work in a smoke-free environment and the need to coordinate appropriate actions by governments, employees, and employers. Activities will include press releases, a video on smoke-free workplaces, and radio announcements by World Health Organization (WHO) experts on tobacco control.

The theme for World No-Tobacco Day 1991, "Public Places and Transport: Better Be Tobacco-Free," emphasized the right of all persons to breathe smoke-free air (1). WHO's Tobacco or Health Program documented a variety of activities associated with World No-Tobacco Day, in both developed and developing countries, including a campaign to prohibit smoking on international airline flights (European press conference held by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom); a special documentary film on the theme of the day broadcast on national television (Algeria); distribution of information in public places and airports urging persons not to smoke and reminding them of existing clean indoor air laws (Brazil); and seminars on the health hazards of smoking and an exhibition of antismoking materials (Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Papua New Guinea) (2). Reported by: Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC.

Editorial Note

Editorial Note: Since 1985, the number of countries that have enacted laws restricting smoking in public places has increased dramatically (2). Preliminary data from WHO indicate that more than half of the countries in the world have laws to control tobacco use in public places: 33% have protection in entertainment establishments, such as theaters and cinemas; health services are protected in 40% of the countries; 33% have laws involving schools, colleges, and other government facilities; and 20% have workplace smoking policies (3). In addition, in 30 countries, flights on all or most domestic routes are smoke free, and in more than 70 countries, buses or trains are smoke free or have smoke-free areas (2). In the Americas, 19 countries restrict smoking in public places; seven countries ban smoking in the workplace, and 13 ban smoking in health establishments (4).

In the United States, the growing evidence linking exposure to environmental tobacco smoke to disease in nonsmokers has led to an increase in clean indoor air legislation at the state and local levels (5). As of April 30, 1992, 44 states and the District of Columbia had instituted some form of smoking restriction in public places (CDC, unpublished data, 1992). The proportion of workplaces in the United States reporting smoking policies has also increased dramatically during the past 5 years. In 1992, 85% of employers had workplace smoking policies, compared with 54% in 1987 (6). Findings in a recent survey in 10 U.S. communities also indicate a high level of public support, even among smokers, for limiting smoking in a wide range of locations: 82%-100% of smokers and 90%-100% of all respondents supported limiting smoking in restaurants, private worksites, government buildings, indoor sports arenas, hospitals, and doctors' offices (7).

In the United States, the national health objectives for the year 2000 specify the need for restrictions on smoking in public places and include establishment of tobacco-free environments. In addition, the objectives include employing tobacco-use prevention in the curricula of all elementary, middle, and secondary schools, preferably as part of quality school health education (objective 3.10); increasing to at least 75% the proportion of worksites with a formal smoking policy that prohibits or severely restricts smoking at the workplace (objective 3.11); and enacting in the 50 states comprehensive laws on clean indoor air that prohibit or strictly limit smoking in the workplace and enclosed public places (including health-care facilities, schools, and public transportation) (objective 3.12) (8). The enactment of clean indoor air legislation has been recommended as a key component of tobacco control worldwide (9).

Additional information about World No-Tobacco Day is available from Richard Leclair, Office of Information and Public Affairs, Pan American Health Organization; telephone (202) 861-3457; or the Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC; telephone (404) 488-5705.


  1. CDC. World No-Tobacco Day, 1991. MMWR 1991;40:341-2.

  2. World Health Organization. World No-Tobacco Day--31 May 1992 (Press packet). Geneva: World Health Organization, 1992.

  3. Roemer R. Legislative action to combat the world tobacco epidemic. 2nd edition. Geneva: World Health Organization (in press).

  4. CDC. Smoking and health in the Americas: a 1992 report of the Surgeon General, in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, CDC, 1992; DHHS publication no. (CDC)92-8419.

  5. CDC. State tobacco prevention and control activities: results of the 1989-1990 Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) Survey final report. MMWR 1991;40 (no. RR-11):18-9.

  6. Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. SHRM-BNA survey no. 55--smoking in the workplace: 1991. In: Bulletin to management. Washington, DC: Bureau of National Affairs, Inc, August 29, 1991. (BNA Policy and Practice series).

  7. CDC. Public attitudes regarding limits on public smoking and regulation of tobacco sales and advertising--10 U.S. communities, 1989. MMWR 1991;40:344-5,351-3.

  8. Public Health Service. Healthy people 2000: national health promotion and disease prevention objectives--full report, with commentary. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 1991; DHHS publication no. (PHS)91-50212.

  9. Pierce JP. Progress and problems in international public health efforts to reduce tobacco usage. Annu Rev Public Health 1991;12:383-400.

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