World No Tobacco Day

World No Tobacco Day is an annual awareness day taking place on 31 May. It is organised to raise awareness about the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocate for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption worldwide.

Tobacco control youth

World No Tobacco Day aims to draw attention to the business practices of tobacco companies to capture generations of consumers and their interference in policy decisions that undermine effective tobacco control. It serves to highlight what WHO is doing to fight the tobacco epidemic that kills up to half its users and contributes to more than eight million people dying every year, and what people can do to protect future generations and allow everyone the chance to claim their right to health. Every year, the theme of World No Tobacco Day addresses a specific issue related to tobacco and its industry.  

World No Tobacco Day was created in 1987 by Member States of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to raise awareness of the harms caused by tobacco products to people, public health, communities and the environment. 

 

What is the theme of
World No Tobacco Day this 31 May 2024?

The theme of World No Tobacco Day 2024 is "Protecting children from tobacco industry interference" to protect future generations and ensure that tobacco use continues to decline. This year, attention is directed towards the alarming trend of the tobacco industry's targeted marketing towards youth. Through extensive social media and streaming platform campaigns, young people are increasingly exposed to the allure of tobacco products, posing a significant threat to their health and well-being. Country surveys consistently show that children aged 13–15 years in most countries are using tobacco and nicotine products. 

Smoking among youth remains prevalent and is increasing in certain nations. More than 38 million young people aged between 13 and 15 are using some form of tobacco. In 2022, scenes featuring tobacco increased by 110% in popular recent shows among 15- to 24-year-olds, often portraying smoking as glamorous and cool. According to Truth Initiative young people are up to 3x more likely to start vaping when exposed to smoking imagery on screen.

Learn the facts about tobacco

 

38 million

boys and girls aged 13–15 consumed tobacco products


Source: WHO

9 out of 10

smokers start before the age of 18


Source: CDC

Over 2/3

of those trying just one cigarette go on to become daily smokers


Source: Nicotine & tobacco research

UICC's engagement in tobacco control 

UICC fully supports the celebration of World No Tobacco Day and puts the emphasis on raising awareness on the deleterious effect of tobacco use on health, and specifically on cancer cases and deaths. 

Tobacco use is linked to at least 20 cancer types and the leading preventable cause of cancer by a wide margin. Indeed, tobacco products cause some 2.4 million deaths globally every year, almost a quarter of all deaths due to cancer (10 million).  

For this reason, UICC advocates for effective tobacco control in low- and middle-income countries where 80% of the world’s smokers live, supports the implementation of cost-effective measures to curb tobacco use, and raises awareness about efforts by the tobacco industry to expand its market and fight anti-smoking legislation. 

Key resources

Tobacco use is a major issue that impacts all communities and impedes the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. It has direct harmful effects on its consumer’s health, but it also affects the country’s economy, environment, women’s health and childhood labour.  

UICC recommends that its members raising awareness about the dangers of tobacco use on World No Tobacco Day on this day and relay the messages to the general public but also every stakeholder, decision makers and government.  

World No Tobacco Day 2024 toolkit

Download images, videos and texts for your social media platforms. Help us spread the word this month of May, ahead of World No Tobacco Day. Resources are available in English, French and Spanish.

Campaign toolkit

Tobacco use is more addictive than opioids, alcohol, or cocaine. According to the @CDC, symptoms of serious nicotine addiction can occur after only days or weeks of experimenting with smoking. @uicc

In 2022, scenes featuring tobacco increased by 110% in popular recent shows among 15- to 24-year-olds, often portraying smoking as glamorous and cool. According to @TruthInitiative young people are up to 3x more likely to start vaping when exposed to smoking imagery on screen. @uicc

Smoking among youth remains prevalent and is increasing in certain nations. Worldwide, an estimated 38 million boys and girls aged 13–15 consumed tobacco products. (CDN)

Nicotine can harm developing brains, with younger users facing a higher likelihood of addiction, greater difficulty in quitting, and potentially an increased risk of addiction to other substances in the future. @uicc @TruthInitiative

Tobacco content, including branded promotional content and misinformation about tobacco and nicotine, is commonplace on social media. @uicc

Digital platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, which are mostly unregulated, are key marketing channels for tobacco companies looking to evade advertising regulations.

1. What is World No Tobacco Day?

  • World No Tobacco Day is an annual awareness day held on 31st May. It aims to raise awareness about the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocates for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption globally.

2. What is the theme of World No Tobacco Day 2024?

  • The theme of World No Tobacco Day 2024 is "Protecting children from tobacco industry interference." This theme emphasises the need to safeguard future generations from the harmful effects of tobacco by addressing targeted marketing towards youth.

3. Why is protecting children from tobacco industry interference important?

  • Children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to the influence of tobacco marketing. With the rise of social media and streaming platforms, the tobacco industry's targeted campaigns are increasingly reaching young people, putting their health at risk and perpetuating the cycle of addiction.

4. What are the key statistics related to youth and tobacco use?

  • According to the WHO, an estimated 38 million boys and girls aged 13–15 consume tobacco products worldwide. Additionally, 9 out of 10 smokers start before the age of 18 (CDC), and over 2/3 of those trying just one cigarette go on to become daily smokers (Nicotine & Tobacco Research).

5. How does tobacco use affect cancer rates?

  • Tobacco use is linked to at least 20 cancer types and is the leading preventable cause of cancer globally. The tobacco industry's marketing practices contribute to approximately 2.4 million deaths annually due to cancer, making it a significant public health concern.

6. What efforts are being made to combat tobacco use?

  • Organisations like the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) advocate for effective tobacco control measures, particularly in low- and middle-income countries where the majority of smokers reside. These efforts include raising awareness, implementing cost-effective interventions, and combating the tobacco industry's attempts to expand its market and influence policy.

7. How can individuals and communities get involved in World No Tobacco Day?

  • Individuals and communities can participate in World No Tobacco Day by raising awareness about the dangers of tobacco use, advocating for policy changes, and supporting initiatives that promote tobacco control. By educating themselves and others, they can contribute to creating a tobacco-free future for everyone.

8. Where can I find more resources about tobacco control and World No Tobacco Day?

Latest news and blog articles about World No Tobacco Day

Prevent future cancer deaths, protect youth from tobacco industry manipulation

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World No Tobacco Day 2024: Protecting children from tobacco industry interference

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UICC urges action on World No Tobacco Day to prevent 2.5 million tobacco-related cancer deaths

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How tobacco and lung cancer are related in Mexico: a story without a happy ending

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By:
Kenji Lopez Cuevas
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UICC members in Fiji and Australia receive prestigious World No Tobacco Day Award

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Podcast "Let's Talk Cancer": How the tobacco industry harms our health and our planet

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Vape products for sale at a City Park West convenience store. Sept. 30, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Tobacco use is a leading cause of many types of cancer, accounting for some 2.5 million deaths due to cancer globally, and costs an estimated USD 1.4 trillion to economies. New products, such as e-cigarettes, are designed to capture a new generation of consumers.

Last update

Friday 03 May 2024

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