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World No-Tobacco Day today

MANILA, Philippines — World No-Tobacco Day (WNTD) is observed on May 31 to encourage a 24-hour period of abstinence from all forms of tobacco consumption around the world. The day, with ashtrays and fresh flowers as its common symbol, was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and its dangerous effects. This year’s theme is “Tobacco Industry Interference,” focusing on the need to counter the tobacco industry’s increasingly aggressive efforts to undermine the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

According to the WHO, tobacco use is one of the leading preventable causes of mortality. The global tobacco smoking will cause the life of nearly six million (6,000,000) people each year, of which more than 600,000 are people exposed to second-hand smoke. Unless we act quickly, it will cause the lives of up to eight million people by 2030, of which more than 80% smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.

WHO urges countries to put the fight against tobacco interference at the heart of their efforts to control the global tobacco epidemic. It encourages groups around the world – from local clubs to city councils and national governments – to organize events each year to help communities observe World No-Tobacco Day in their own meaningful way.

In the Philippines, where surveys showed 28% of Filipinos aged 15 years and above, or 17.3 million people, are smokers, the Metro Manila-wide smoking ban has been implemented in bus terminals, waiting sheds, schools, hospitals, recreational places, and inside public utility vehicles as part of a joint campaign of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority headed by Chairman Atty. Francis N. Tolentino and Local Government Units partnership in the enforcement of an intensified no-smoking policy that coincides with the observance of the World No-Tobacco Day 2011.

In observing the World No-Tobacco Day 2012, let us show our right to health and healthy living and protect our future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental, and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke. Quit Smoking and Live Longer. MABUHAY!

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