According to research, smoking remains the biggest preventable cause of cancer in the world. Tobacco also kills about two-thirds of long-term users and causes much harm to non-users, unlike other dangerous products making it one of the biggest public health threats humanity has ever faced.
It was because of this epidemic that the World Health Organization declared 31st May as World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), as a tribute to the millions of people who lose their lives each year from tobacco consumption and call to world governments to step in and take measures to halt this epidemic.
Each year the world celebrates the World No Tobacco Day in different themes centered on Sustainable Development Goals.
In addition to millions of lives it takes away each year, tobacco also cost lots of money, for example in the United States alone, it cost US$ 1.4 trillion in health care and lost productivity, whereas in low-income countries, at times more than 10% of household income is spent on tobacco according to the World Health Organization. It is clear that tobacco is a threat to mankind.
Tobacco threatens development on several fronts – poverty, health, women and children and the environment.
The emissions from tobacco contribute thousands of tons of human carcinogens, greenhouse gases and toxic elements.
In addition to destroying your health, tobacco also interferes with the health of your loved ones and also the environment.
For this reason, governments have tried to implement policies to curb tobacco consumption, including:
• Increasing the legal age for purchasing cigarettes and tobacco
• Rules prohibiting smoking in public areas, and in cars carrying children
• Putting tobacco products out of sight and out of reach by prohibiting the sale of the products and displays in vending machines and shops.
• Imposing an annual tobacco tax escalator to make tobacco products prices increase year by year thus makes them less affordable. This move was especially lauded by Professor Corne Van Walbeek (University of Cape Town) as the single most effective method of reducing tobacco use. Numerous studies have indicated that taxing tobacco by $1 international dollar could lead to 1 in 10 smokers around the world to quit.
The money gained from taxing tobacco can help the economy by contributing to improving healthcare worldwide. It is estimated that the $1 tax could raise more than $100 billion worldwide.
Apparently, it is not only used of tobacco that poses a threat to the environment but also its production, particularly through deforestation. Roughly, 2-4% of deforestation worldwide is attributed to the production of tobacco.
During the production of tobacco, the land is cleared to free up space for the tobacco crops to develop and even more clearance occurs to make room for the drying of the tobacco leaves.
It is estimated that annually, a total of 6oo million trees are cut down and burned, particularly in underdeveloped countries where tobacco production is a major source of income. This loss is equivalent to burning about 2.8 billion gallons of gasoline. This is massive destruction will continue to be a threat to mankind unless all nations in the world come together against tobacco.
31st May – World No Tobacco Day, Create an Online Poll and know why tobacco remains a global threat.