Date published: May 28, 2010
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide and is estimated to kill 5 million persons each year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), if current trends continue, by 2030 tobacco use could cause 8 million deaths annually (1).
WHO created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to tobacco use and the preventable death and disease it causes. The theme for this year's World No Tobacco Day, which will be held on May 31, is "gender and tobacco, with an emphasis on marketing to women."
Although women account for only about 20% of the world's 1 billion smokers, female smoking rates are on the rise (2), and tobacco advertising increasingly targets girls and women (3). World No Tobacco Day this year emphasizes the importance of controlling tobacco use among women and understanding the differences between males and females in tobacco use, awareness of tobacco advertising and marketing, and the health effects of tobacco use. Additional information regarding World No Tobacco Day is available on the Internet (2).
1. World Health Organization. WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2009: implementing smoke-free environments. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2009. Available at http://www.who.int/tobacco/mpower/en.
2. World Health Organization. Tobacco free Initiative: World No Tobacco Day 2010. Theme: gender and tobacco with an emphasis on marketing to women. Available at http://www who.int/tobacco/wntd/20 1 0/announ cement/en/index, html.
3. World Health Organization. Women and health: today's evidence, tomorrow's agenda. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2009. Available at http://www.who.int/gender/ women_health_report/en.