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World No-Tobacco Day -- May 31, 1998

Tobacco use is one of the most important determinants of human health trends worldwide (1). The annual rate of 3 million deaths attributed to tobacco use will reach approximately 10 million by 2025. Globally, if current trends continue, more than 200 million persons who are currently children and teenagers will die from tobacco-related illnesses (1).

In many countries, tobacco use is increasing among young persons, and the age of smoking initiation is declining. Most smokers begin smoking during their teenage years. If young persons do not use tobacco before age 20 years, they are unlikely to initiate use as adults (2).

The theme for this year's World No-Tobacco Day, to be held May 31, is "Growing up Without Tobacco." The World Health Organization (WHO) encourages governments, communities, organizations, schools, families, and persons to focus on the increasing epidemic of tobacco-related morbidity and mortality, to take strong actions to prevent nicotine addiction in young persons, to protect nonsmokers from the dangers of environmental tobacco smoke, and to provide effective youth-oriented smoking-cessation programs.

WHO will provide press releases, fact sheets, a poster, and an advisory kit on comprehensive measures to reduce tobacco use. Additional information about World No-Tobacco Day 1998 is available from WHO's World-Wide Web site, from the WHO regional office of the Americas, telephone (202) 861-3200, or from CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, telephone (770) 488-5705; World-Wide Web site


  1. Peto R, Lopez A, Boreham J, Thun M, Heath C Jr. Mortality from smoking in developed countries, 1950-2000: indirect estimates from national vital statistics. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1994.

  2. World Health Organization. World No-Tobacco Day, 31 May 1998 {Advisory kit}. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, 1998.

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