World No Tobacco Day: May 31st

“The enemy, the tobacco industry, has changed its face and its tactics. The wolf is no longer in sheep’s clothing, and its teeth are bared.”

– Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, keynote speech,
15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health, Singapore, 20 March 2012

Today marks the 25th annual World No Tobacco Day. This year the World Health Organization (WHO) highlights the tobacco industry’s interference.

Tobacco use continues to be the leading global cause of preventable death. It kills nearly 6 million people every year through cancer, heart disease, respiratory diseases, childhood diseases and others. It also causes hundreds of billions of dollars of economic losses worldwide every year. Over the course of the 21st century, tobacco use could kill up to a billion people unless urgent action is taken.

So far, 174 nations (plus the European Union) have pledged to work together to implement the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). However, these tobacco control efforts are systematically opposed by the tobacco industry. In its efforts to derail or weaken strong tobacco control policies, tobacco industry interference takes many forms.

Forms of tobacco industry interference
In its efforts to derail or weaken strong tobacco control policies, tobacco industry interference takes many forms. These include:

  • maneuvering to hijack the political and legislative process
  • exaggerating the economic importance of the industry
  • manipulating public opinion to gain the appearance of respectability
  • fabricating support through front groups
  • discrediting proven science
  •  intimidating governments with litigation or the threat of litigation

Today on World No Tobacco Day 2012, and throughout the following year, WHO will urge countries to put the fight against tobacco industry interference at the heart of their efforts to control the global tobacco epidemic.

*Information taken from the WHO Tobacco Free Initiative

More information: High quality information on smoking and quitting

In the news: Recent news about smoking and quitting

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