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WHO launched campaign against illicit trade of tobacco products on World No Tobacco Day 2015

Jun 1, 2015 15:00 IST

31 May: World No Tobacco Day

The World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) 2015 was observed globally on 31 May 2015. To mark this occasion, the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched a campaign to stop illicit trade of tobacco products.

Every year, on 31 May, the WHO and its partners in close collaboration with the governmental and non governmental agencies organize events, workshops, seminars, etc to raise awareness about the ill effects of tobacco processing, trade and usage among the masses and the policy makers.

On 15 May 1987, the WHO passed a resolution, calling for 7 April 1988, to be the first WNTD. This date was chosen because it was the 40th anniversary of the WHO. However, On 17 May 1989, the WHO passed another resolution calling for 31 May to be annually known as WNTD. Thus, this event has been observed each year since 1989.

Deaths caused by Tobacco

The global tobacco epidemic kills nearly 6 million people each year, of which more than 600000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke. If the similar conditions persist, the epidemic is estimated to kill more than 8 million people every year by 2030. Also, more than 80 percent of these preventable deaths will be among people living in low-and middle-income countries.

Why the campaign against illicit trade of tobacco products launched?

From many angles, the illicit trade of tobacco products is a major global concern especially in high-income countries, including health, legal and economic, governance and corruption.

The illicit tobacco market may account for as much as one in every 10 cigarettes consumed globally, according to studies, including information supplied by the global customs community. The European Commission estimates that illicit trade in cigarettes costs the EU and their Member States over 10 billion euros annually in lost tax and customs revenue.

WHO FCTC

In response to the threat posed by illicit tobacco trade, the international community negotiated and adopted in November 2012 the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, the first protocol to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). India ratified the convention in February 2004 and has become the seventh country to do so.

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