World No Tobacco Day, May 31

May 25, 2006


Tobacco use is responsible for approximately one in 10 premature deaths among adults worldwide. Sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), World No Tobacco Day is observed every year on May 31. This year’s theme is Tobacco: Deadly in Any Form or Disguise. The goal is to raise awareness about the harmful health effects of all forms of tobacco (e.g., cigarettes [including light, low-tar, and mild], smokeless tobacco, bidis, kreteks, clove cigarettes, cigars, shisha [flavored tobacco smoked in a hookah pipe], and others). For example, smokeless tobacco causes oral cancer and might be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease; bidis increase the risk for oral, lung, and esophageal cancers; and waterpipe smoking increases the risk for oral and lip cancer and obstructive lung disease. The global burden of deaths attributable to tobacco use each year is estimated to double from 5 million in 2005 to 10 million in 2020 (5). Additional information on WHO’s tobacco control initiative and World No Tobacco Day activities is available at