The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing more than 8 million people a year around the world. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non -smokers being exposed to second - hand smoke.
Each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) holds the World No Tobacco Day on May 31, with the goal to spread awareness about the risks of tobacco use, and how we can make the world tobacco free. This is especially important right now as studies show that smokers have a higher risk for a severe case of COVID-19 Pandemic.
The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control 2005 (WHO FCTC) is a milestone in the promotion of public health. It is an evidence - based treaty that reaffirms the right of people to the highest standard of health. It provides the legal dimensions for international health cooperation, and sets high standards for compliance. Strengthening implementation of this treaty is specifically included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as Target 3.a.
The theme of World No Tobacco Day 2020 is " Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use". Only 1 in 3 countries, representing 38 percent of the world's population, monitors tobacco use by repeating nationally representative youth and adult surveys at least once every 5 years. This global campaign will serve to debunk myths and expose devious tactics employed by these industries. It will provide young people with the knowledge required to easily detect industry manipulation and it will also equip and empower young people to stand up against them.
Over 80 percent of the 1.3 billion tobacco users worldwide live in low and middle income countries, where the burden of tobacco - related illness and death is heaviest. Tobacco use contributes to poverty by diverting household spending from basic needs such as: food and shelter to tobacco.
We, at the World Assembly of Youth (WAY), believe in empowering young people and youth leaders to collaborate together in achieving a generation free of Tobacco. We call upon our members and youth organisations to advocate and lobby on the implementation of effective policy interventions in order to reduce the demand for tobacco and protect against industry tactics to undermine global and national efforts to implement evidence - based tobacco control policies.
We believe that tobacco control can break the cycle of poverty, contribute to ending hunger, promote sustainable economic growth, and combat climate change. We encourage young people to join the fight by becoming educated, spreading awareness, and creating a tobacco - free generation.