Tobacco is the only legal consumer product that kills its users when used exactly as intended by the manufacturer. Tobacco use kills nearly 6 million people every year, 600 000 of whom were exposed to second-hand smoke. WHO marks World No Tobacco Day each year on 31 May to draw global attention to the widespread prevalence of tobacco use and to its negative health effects on smokers and non-smokers.
The theme of this year’s World No Tobacco Day is "Tobacco industry interference". The aim of the campaign is to expose the attempts by the tobacco industry to undermine the efforts of international organizations and governments to reduce tobacco use. It also highlights the many innovative ways being used to counter the tactics of the tobacco industry to subvert tobacco control policies.
The importance of implementing Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control – which specifically addresses protecting tobacco control policies from tobacco industry interference – is also stressed in this year’s campaign.
The WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean launched the theme for the 2012 World No Tobacco Day, calling upon participants to form a united front against the tobacco industry’s strategies and tactics to undermine tobacco control policies. The official campaign material, including poster, flyer and two short public information videos was then released to the press in the regional celebration held in Sudan on 31 May 2012.
The seven recipients of this year’s World No Tobacco Day were announced during the celebration and included individuals from Bahrain, Egypt, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. Every year, WHO presents awards to key people and/or organizations that have made valuable contributions to tobacco control and to the World No Tobacco Day theme.