Celebrating World No Tobacco Day

In many public spaces, flowers are placed in ashtrays in observance of World No Tobacco Day. (Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)

Today marks the celebration of the 24th annual World No Tobacco Day. Created by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1987 and launched in 1988, the day is observed by all United Nations member states. Its goal is to encourage people to quit smoking for 24 hours, with an ultimate mission to publicize the deadly risks associated with smoking, and to reduce tobacco use around the world. In many public spaces where smoking is permitted, flowers are placed in the ashtrays in observance.

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death worldwide, killing almost 6 million people each year, 600,000 of whom die from secondhand smoke. In the United States, 1,200 people per day die from smoking. Even more disturbing, for each one of those deaths, the Surgeon General reports that two young adults become regular smokers.

This year, World No Tobacco Day arrives on the heels of a new mass media campaign across the U.S. called “Tips From Former Smokers,” designed to draw attention to the physical deterioration that smoking and smoking-related illnesses cause over time.

If you or someone you know is ready to quit smoking, a wealth of quitting assistance information is available online. Check out smokefree.gov for useful quitting tips and resources.

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