The world No Tobacco Day is celebrated on 31st May worldwide, highlighting the health risks associated with the use of tobacco and implementation of policies to reduce its consumption. World Health Organization (WHO) passed a resolution on May 15, 1987 declaring April 7, 1988 to be the first world no smoking day. On May 17, 1988, the WHO passed a resolution marking, May 31st to be annually known as “World No Tobacco Day.” This event has been observed each year since 1988.
The second major cause of death globally is the use of tobacco and is currently responsible for killing one in 10 adults worldwide. A report in 2014, from WHO, suggested that the rate of tobacco consumption in India was rising and about 2500 people die daily (more than 9 lakhs in a year) in the country due to tobacco-related diseases. Tobacco-related cancers represented 42% of male and 18% of female cancer deaths between 30 and 69 years of age. The death toll due to the use of tobacco is expected to reach 1.5 million a year by 2020 if more users are not motivated to leave the deadly habit of using tobacco in one form or the other.
Understanding these alarming figures, it becomes a moral duty of all the medical practitioners to identify the patients, who are in the habit of using tobacco and then persuading them to leave the habit. The associations between tobacco use and diseases leading to cancer are now well-recognized, and this information must be passed on to the patients emphatically. It may not be as simple as it sounds since it requires a lot of extra effort on the part of health care professionals and a good follow-up.
Despite having signed up to a global treaty on tobacco control and having numerous anti-tobacco and smoke-free laws, the effective implementation seems lacking. The time has come when each individual, in particular, the health care professionals must take the task in their hand of eradicating this dread, which is leaving the people more vulnerable to addiction and ill health.
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