31 May each year is celebrated as World No Tobacco Day. This year, the focus is on Tobacco and Heart Disease.
The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) entered into force in February 2005 and has today 181 Parties covering more than 90% of the world’s population.
The WHO FCTC is a milestone in the promotion of public health. It is an evidence-based treaty that reaffirms the right of people to the highest standard of health, provides legal dimensions for international health cooperation and sets high standards for compliance.
In 2008, WHO introduced a practical, cost-effective way to scale up implementation of the main demand reduction provisions of the WHO FCTC on the ground: MPOWER. Each MPOWER measure corresponds to at least 1 provision of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
The 6 MPOWER measures are:
- Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies
- Protect people from tobacco use
- Offer help to quit tobacco use
- Warn about the dangers of tobacco
- Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
- Raise taxes on tobacco.
Tobacco kills up to half of its users.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) kill more people than any other cause of death worldwide, and tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure contribute to approximately 12% of all heart disease deaths.
Tobacco use is the second leading cause of CVD, after high blood pressure.
The global tobacco epidemic kills more than 7 million people each year, of which close to 900 000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke.
Second-hand smoke is the smoke that fills restaurants, offices or other enclosed spaces when people burn tobacco products such as cigarettes, bidis and water-pipes.
There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke.
- In adults, second-hand smoke causes serious cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, including coronary heart disease and lung cancer. In infants, it causes sudden death. In pregnant women, it causes low birth weight.
- Almost half of children regularly breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke in public places.
- Second-hand smoke causes more than 890 000 premature deaths per year.
- In 2004, children accounted for 28% of the deaths attributable to second-hand smoke.
Nearly 80% of the 1.1 billion smokers worldwide live in low- and middle-income countries, where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death is heaviest.
Tobacco users who die prematurely deprive their families of income, raise the cost of health care and hinder economic development.
Despite the known harms of tobacco to heart health, and the availability of solutions to reduce related death and disease, knowledge among large sections of the public that tobacco is one of the leading causes of CVD is low.
A 2009 survey in China revealed that only 38% of smokers knew that smoking causes coronary heart disease and only 27% knew that it causes stroke.
Among smokers who are aware of the dangers of tobacco, most want to quit. Counselling and medication can more than double the chance that a smoker who tries to quit will succeed.
World No Tobacco Day 2018 aims to:
- Highlight the links between the use of tobacco products and heart and other cardiovascular diseases.
- Increase awareness within the broader public of the impact tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke have on cardiovascular health.
- Provide opportunities for the public, governments and others to make commitments to promote heart health by protecting people from use of tobacco products.
- Encourage countries to strengthen implementation of the proven MPOWER tobacco control measures contained in the WHO FCTC.
Link to World No Tobacco Day 2018 page:
Link to Campaign materials for social media:
Link to WHO fact sheet about benefits of smoking cessation:
Link to WHO fact sheet on tobacco:
Link to WHO report on Cardiovascular Harms from tobacco use and secondhand smoke (2012) (English, Chinese) [PDF]: