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World No Tobacco Day --- May 31, 2005

Tobacco use causes approximately 5 million deaths worldwide each year (1). Since 1987, the World Health Organization (WHO) has sponsored World No Tobacco Day to encourage countries to implement comprehensive programs to reduce tobacco use. The focus this year is on the role of health professionals in tobacco control. Studies indicate that smokers are more likely to quit smoking permanently if they receive physician assistance, behavioral counseling, and pharmacologic treatment (2).

In accordance with a code of practice proposed in 2004 (3), WHO is encouraging health-care professionals to provide patients with information about the health consequences of smoking, help their smoking patients quit, and act as role models who promote tobacco-free lifestyles. CDC, WHO, and the Canadian Public Health Association have developed and pilot-tested the Global Health Professionals Survey, which assesses health-care--professional tobacco use, attitudes about tobacco, and training to counsel patients in tobacco-cessation techniques (4). Additional information on WHO tobacco-control programs is available at


  1. World Health Organization. An international treaty for tobacco control. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2003. Available at
  2. Fiore MC, Bailey WC, Cohen SJ, et al. Treating tobacco use and dependence: clinical practice guideline. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service; 2000. AHQR publication no. 00-0032.
  3. World Health Organization. Code of practice on tobacco control for health professional organizations. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2004. Available at
  4. CDC. Tobacco use and cessation counseling---Global Health Professionals Survey Pilot Study, 2005. MMWR 2005;54:505--9.

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Date last reviewed: 5/26/2005


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