We’re right at the end of May and as it goes in every year, it’s World No Tobacco Day! We here at Girl Boss stand in solidarity with The World Health Organisation (WHO), which, in a bid to drive and increase awareness on the harmful effects of the substance, observe today as a day of self-restraint from tobacco.
It is reported that approximately 6 million people worldwide die due to tobacco and this is the number of people that the world loses each year. This is a huge number and a great cause for concern and whilst this speaks to the bigger issue of addiction, it is also understandable that the World Health Organisation, in 2008, called for a worldwide ban on the promotion, sponsorship and advertising of Tobacco. Their aim was to target advertising specifically directed at the youth as they dubbed their campaign “Tobacco-free youth”. Initially, back in 1987, when the World Health Organisation initiated the World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), the goal was to encourage a 24 hour refrain from tobacco from its users with the hope that this step would encourage them to quit or motivate those trying to quit
The World Health Organisation themes each World No Tobacco Day as a means to not only drive its deeply humanitarian message but to also highlight the industry’s attempt to derail the organisation’s work in creating awareness and pushing an initiative that makes it clear to all that tobacco is a life-threatening drug. In 2012, for example, the theme was “Tobacco Industry Interference”. Accompanying each annual theme are publicity materials such as brochures, fliers, press releases, websites and posters. The purpose of each theme is to also ensure that consumers are not misinformed and disillusioned about the effects of consuming tobacco. World No Tobacco Day celebrations include the sharing and circulation of the latest research conducted on tobacco in order to keep people informed and as well challenge ‘anti-tobacco’ arguments circulating in the world
The theme of WNTD 2019 is “Tobacco and lung health”. This year the focus is on the numerous ways in which exposure to Tobacco affects the health of people’s lungs all over the world. Some of the related diseases that are highlighted include lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), tuberculosis, asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis and lower respiratory infections, amongst others. The reduction of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure is motivated as an effective measure in improving lung health. As part of this year’s campaign, The World No Tobacco Day 2019 campaign will conscientise the world on the implications of tobacco smoking and second-hand exposure and it’s danger to lung health, it will raise awareness on the global fatalities as a result of lung diseases including tuberculosis deaths, it will highlight the importance of not only achieving lung health but general health and well-being and recommend the actions that people all over the world can take in order to reduce the risks of tobacco in relation to lung health
It is important for us to take such global matters to heart and support calls for action. Overall health matters and whilst it may not seem like an easy feat to quit smoking tobacco, we support our brothers and sisters in putting their health first by joining in on this years’ World No Tobacco Day. For at least 24 hours, let us all try to steer clear of tobacco and protect ourselves from second hand smoking. And for those of us who can take it a step further, let us make it a ‘World No Tobacco Weekend’!
It is, admittedly, tough for the youth to not adopt smoking as a habit as most marketing is directed at them and it would seem that in whichever way they turn, even people they look up to have a cigarette in hand. What immediately comes to mind is the latest music video release by South Africa’s most loved and celebrated rapper, Kwesta. His song, ‘Khethile-khethile’ is just plain sweet as he tells the world that he has chosen his ‘forever’ and that there’s no turning back for him. The music video beautifully captures his wedding and now and again we see him either with a cigarette in hand or smoking it. Even as a non-smoker myself, I must admit that there’s a look of ‘cool’ associated with it. And perhaps that’s why most young people easily pick up on habits such as drinking and smoking; it’s associated with a lifestyle; celebrating, partying and generally having a good time.
But, for today and perhaps for the rest of the weekend (and dare I say, and for forever and a day), let us, especially as young people, take heed of the World Health Organisation’s World No Tobacco Day 2019 and put our health first and the health of the ones around us. Let us also thrive to encourage one another as we join in, in creating awareness over the destructiveness of tobacco. Let’s circulate the brochures, fliers, posters and press releases and share the information we come across on websites. The World Health Organisation also encourages that, “Parents and other members of the community should also take measures to promote their own health, and that of their children, by protecting them from the harms caused by tobacco.”
Let’s meet today with some excitement, positivity and zeal. Cheers to World No Tobacco Day! Or, if you like, World No Tobacco Weekend!