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World No Tobacco Day

Today is World No Tobacco Day, as organized by the World Health Organization’s.People, non-governmental organizations and governments unite on World No Tobacco Day to draw attention to the health problems that tobacco use can cause. It is held on May 31 each year.

 

Tobacco is a product of the fresh leaves of nicotiana plants. It is used as an aid in spiritual ceremonies and a recreational drug. It originated in the Americas, but was introduced to Europe by Jean Nicot, the French ambassador to Portugal in 1559. It quickly became popular and an important trade crop.

Medical research made it clear during the 1900s that tobacco use increased the likelihood of many illnesses including heart attacks, strokes, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), emphysema and many forms of cancer. This is true for all ways in which tobacco is used, including:

Cigarettes and cigars.

Hand rolling tobacco.

Bidis and kreteks (cigarettes containing tobacco with herbs or spices).

Pipes and water pipes.

Chewing tobacco.

Snuff.

Snus (a moist version of snuff popular in some countries such as Sweden).

Creamy snuff (a paste consisting of tobacco, clove oil, glycerin, spearmint, menthol, and camphor sold in a toothpaste tube popular in India).

Gutkha (a version of chewing tobacco mixed with areca nut, catechu, slaked lime and other condiments popular in India and South-East Asia).

On May 15, 1987, the World Health Organization passed a resolution, calling for April 7, 1988, to be the first World No Smoking Day. This date was chosen because it was the 40th anniversary of the World Health Organization. On May 17, 1989, the World Health Organization passed a resolution calling for May 31 to be annually known as World No Tobacco Day. This event has been observed each year since 1989.

The Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), which is conducted by the health ministry, says smoking kills over 1 million people in the country annually. The economic burden of tobacco consumption is around Rs 1,04,500 crore per annum.

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rajni@medgatetoday.com

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