Every year, on the 31st of May, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and partners mark World No Tobacco Day, highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.
It’s a well-known fact that smoking will damage our health in numerous ways, not to mention is a leading risk factor for preventable cancer, with 1 in 5 cancer deaths attributed to smoking.
Cigarettes contain more than 60 chemicals, and when you inhale cigarette smoke, these chemicals enter your lungs and run havoc throughout your body. Tobacco smoke can cause widespread free radical damage and along with health problems there is also an increased requirement for certain vitamins and minerals, particularly those with potent antioxidant actions including vitamin C.
In Australia, over 16% of Australians smoke and 3 in 4 smokers say they are interested in quitting. World No Tobacco Day is an opportunity to support someone you know wanting to quit smoking. On a more global scale, the theme for World No Tobacco Day 2016 is 'Get ready for plain packaging.' The aims of the day include:
- Highlight the role of plain packaging as part of a comprehensive, multi-sectoral approach to tobacco control.
- Facilitate policy development by Member States and the globalisation of plain packaging by providing informative, compelling and persuasive information.
- Encourage Member States to strengthen packaging and labelling measures and restrictions on advertising, promotion and sponsorship as they work towards plain packaging in a step-wise approach.
- Support Member States and civil society against tobacco industry interference in political processes leading to adoption of plain packaging laws.
Interestingly, Australia is a world leader and was the first country to fully implement plain packaging in 2012. Currently, a number of countries are in advanced stages of considering adoption of plain packaging laws.
On a more personal and local level, if you know someone who is interesting in quitting, you could show your support by making a pledge at a website such as I Can Quit.