World No Tobacco Day

World No Tobacco Day is a holiday observed worldwide on May 31st. It is a day designed to encourage people to abstain from all tobacco products for a period of 24 hours. It is hoped that those who observe this day will realize that if they can stop for a day, then they can work towards stopping permanently.

Another reason why this holiday is observed is to raise awareness about the health-related issues that arise from tobacco use. Using tobacco increases a person’s risk for nearly every type of cancer, as well as heart disease, diabetes, and various lung diseases such as COPD.

The History Of World No Tobacco Day

This day was officially established in 1988 by the World Health Assembly. On April 7th of that year, they passed Resolution WHA40.38, a resolution that established the day for tobacco abstinence to be observed every year on May 31st.

It has since been observed each year with endorsements by various health-related agencies such as the American Lung Association.

Facts About Smoking

To further underline the dangers of smoking and the importance of observing World No Tobacco Day, we thought we’d list some of the statistics related to smoking and other forms of tobacco use. Below are some of the latest statistics on the dangers of smoking.

  • Over 15% of men and 12% of women have reported smoking cigarettes either every day or on some days, and smoking at least one hundred cigarettes during their lifetime.
  • More than 16 million Americans are currently living with a serious disease caused by smoking cigarettes.
  • Smoking is the leading cause of erectile dysfunction (ED) in males.
  • Smoking is responsible for almost half a million deaths in the U.S. per year. Over 40,000 of those deaths are caused by secondhand smoke.
  • Smokers die an average of a decade before nonsmokers.
  • The total economic cost of smoking in the U.S. is $300 billion per year.
  • Every day, 2,000 people under 18 in the U.S. will smoke their first cigarette.

The Customs, Traditions & Observations For World No Tobacco Day

This is a holiday that everyone is encouraged to participate in by the World Health Organization. They want people, businesses, and government agencies to raise the profile of this holiday to help people quit smoking. As a result of these efforts, there are usually marches, parties, and public art exhibits related to the themes of quitting smoking that can be found on this day.

Government agencies will also use this holiday as a launching date for enacting new and/or novel tobacco control legislation. For example, Australia initiated legislation that went into effect on this day in 2010 that made all hospitals and government offices smoke-free.

Although most people find this day to be a holiday free of controversy, and there are no large-scale movements against this day, some pro-tobacco advocates and smokers have publicly protested against this day. These protests are usually organized on the basis that anti-smoking legislation and regulations are an affront to the exercise of a smoker’s personal freedoms.

When is it?
This year (2024)
May 31 Friday
Next year (2025)
May 31 Saturday
Last year (2023)
May 31 Wednesday
Health & Body, United Nations