World No Tobacco Day observed

People, non-governmental organizations and governments unite on World No Tobacco Day on 31 May (today), over the world including Pakistan to draw attention to the health problems that tobacco use can cause.
On 31st May each year WHO celebrates World No Tobacco Day, highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce consumption.
Tobacco use is the second cause of death globally (after hypertension) and is currently responsible for killing one in 10 adults worldwide.
The theme for World No Tobacco Day 2010 is gender and tobacco, with an emphasis on marketing to women. WHO will use the day to draw particular attention to the harmful effects of tobacco marketing and smoke on women and girls.
The World Health Assembly created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and its lethal effects.
It provides an opportunity to highlight specific tobacco control messages and to promote adherence to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Tobacco use is the number one preventable epidemic that the health community faces.
The World Health Organization (WHO) selects “Gender and tobacco with an emphasis on marketing to women” as the theme for the next World No Tobacco Day, which will take place on 31 May 2010.
Controlling the epidemic of tobacco among women is an important part of any comprehensive tobacco control strategy. World No Tobacco Day 2010 will be designed to draw particular attention to the harmful effects of tobacco marketing towards women and girls.
It will also highlight the need for the nearly 170 Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to ban all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in accordance with their constitutions or constitutional principles.
Women comprise about 20% of the world’s more than 1 billion smokers. However, the epidemic of tobacco use among women is increasing in some countries.
Women are a major target of opportunity for the tobacco industry, which needs to recruit new users to replace the nearly half of current users who will die prematurely from tobacco-related diseases.
Especially troubling is the rising prevalence of tobacco use among girls. The new WHO report, Women and health: today’s evidence, tomorrow’s agenda, points to evidence that tobacco advertising increasingly targets girls.
Data from 151 countries show that about 7% of adolescent girls smoke cigarettes as opposed to 12% of adolescent boys. In some countries, almost as many girls smoke as boys.
World No Tobacco Day 2010 will give overdue recognition to the importance of controlling the epidemic of tobacco among women. As WHO Director-General Margaret Chan wrote in the aforementioned report, “protecting and promoting the health of women is crucial to health and development not only for the citizens of today but also for those of future generations”.
On World No Tobacco Day 2010, and throughout the following year, WHO will encourage governments to pay particular attention to protecting women from the tobacco companies’ attempts to lure them into lifetimes of nicotine dependence.
Tobacco use could kill one billion people during this century. Recognizing the importance of reducing tobacco use among women, and acting upon that recognition, would save many lives.

Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2010