World No Tobacco Day (May)


Tobacco is the only legally available consumer product which kills people when it is used entirely as intended.

Oxford Medical Companion (1994)

During the month of May, we as Americans have the opportunity to look outside our United State's borders to examine a very serious health concern that not only affects us, but has an even bigger impact on the world as a whole. For the US, 440,000 people die from their own cigarette smoke. This does not include smokeless tobacco or second hand smoke. Tobacco kills 5.4 million people a year (one person every 6 seconds) and accounts for one in 10 adult deaths worldwide. Over one billion people smoke in the world. Tobacco usage is decreasing in the high-income countries, while 80% of the world's smokers live in low-and middle- income countries. Half of the world's children breath in air polluted by tobacco smoke. It is a risk factor for six of the eight leading causes of deaths in the world. If not addressed, tobacco related deaths will increase to more than eight million by the year 2030.

The World Health Organization (WHO) brings attention to the tobacco epidemic through World No Tobacco Day on May 31st, 2009. WHO helps countries fight tobacco use and marketing of the deadly product. Many countries like Malaysia, Egypt, and Thailand have made changes like increased taxes, established smoke-free public places, and prohibited advertising. Uruguay has banned tobacco use in public places, workplaces, restaurants, bars and casinos, being the first country in the Americas to become 100% smoke-free.

Augusta Health's decision to be a tobacco free campus, inside and out, which includes all property of Augusta Health, on August 3rd, fulfills many guidelines that WHO suggests to address the tobacco epidemic. MPOWER stands for and is the guidelines. Augusta Health will MONITOR tobacco use on its campus and enforce its tobacco-free campus policy as a preventative act. By creating a tobacco free campus, Augusta Health is PROTECTing people from tobacco smoke. Augusta Health has programs to OFFER help to quit tobacco use. Through this initiative, cessation classes and general hazards of tobacco education in the community, Augusta Health WARNS about the dangers of tobacco. Augusta Health does not have the authority to ENFORCE bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship nation wide or RAISE taxes on tobacco, but the people that make up the Augusta Health community and Augusta County do. They can contact their local legislators and voice their opinion on these topics. Through the MPOWER policy, WHO can reverse the tobacco epidemic and prevent millions of tobacco-related deaths.

Augusta Health will celebrate World No Tobacco Day during the week of May 31st. The theme for this year's campaign is "BREAK THE TOBACCO MARKETING NET", which focuses on tobacco-free youth. If any church, business or civic group would like to celebrate too, Materials can be found at www.who.int/tobacco/wntd.

Information provided by Dana H. Breeding, RN Health Educator from Community Outreach, at Augusta Health. To contact her related to the above information, please call 332-4988 or 932-4988.