World No Tobacco Day

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May 31 is World No Tobacco Day, an annual awareness day sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) since 1987 to highlight the health risks associated with tobacco use and encourage governments to adopt effective policies to reduce smoking and other tobacco use.

According to WHO, tobacco use kills nearly 6 million people around the world each year. In the United States, tobacco use is the largest preventable cause of death and disease. It causes many types of cancer, as well as heart disease, stroke, lung disease, and other health problems. This year’s World No Tobacco Day theme calls on countries worldwide to work together to stop the illegal sale of tobacco products.

According to WHO, research shows that 1 in every 10 cigarettes smoked worldwide is illegal. WHO reports that the tobacco industry and criminal groups profit from the illegal tobacco trade, leaving the public to pay the health and security costs.

In addition, WHO reports that the criminal tobacco trade is especially dangerous for young people, because it makes tobacco products more affordable and accessible. In addition, illegal tobacco products often do not display required health warnings. And according to WHO, children are sometimes involved in illegal selling activities.

WHO is urging governments to ratify the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products. If ratified, this treaty would create an international system to help stop the illegal sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products. – – Stacy Simon

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