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World No Tobacco Day — May 31, 2012

Please note: An erratum has been published for this article. To view the erratum, please click here.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death worldwide. Approximately 6 million deaths related to tobacco use occur each year, including 600,000 from second-hand smoke. If current trends continue, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), by 2030, approximately 8 million persons will die each year from tobacco use, and 80% of those persons will reside in low- and middle-income countries (1).

In 1987, WHO designated May 31 as World No Tobacco Day to draw global attention to the health risks of tobacco use. In 2005, provisions of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control took effect. A total of 175 countries have ratified this treaty, making it one of the most widely embraced treaties in United Nations history (2).

The treaty commits countries to protect the public's health by adopting various measures to reduce demand for tobacco. Those measures include increased pricing of tobacco products, protection from exposure to tobacco smoke, and regulation of product contents, packaging, and advertising (3). A reduction in smoking prevalence worldwide of 20%–25% could prevent 100 million premature deaths by 2020 (4).

References

  1. World Health Organization. World No Tobacco Day 2012. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2012. Available at http://www.who.int/tobacco/wntd/2012/announcement/en/index.html. Accessed May 17, 2012.
  2. World Health Organization. About the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2012. Available at http://www.who.int/fctc/about/en/index.html. Accessed May 7, 2012.
  3. World Health Organization. WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2005. Available at http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2003/9241591013.pdf. Accessed May 18, 2012.
  4. Frieden T, Bloomberg M. How to prevent 100 million deaths from tobacco. Lancet 2007;369:1758–61.

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