World No Tobacco Day 2023: History, Theme
World No Tobacco Day 2023: The 2023 global campaign aims to raise awareness of alternative crop production and marketing opportunities for tobacco farmers and encourage them to grow sustainable and nutritious crops.
World No Tobacco Day 2023: World No Tobacco Day is celebrated on 31 May every year. This day is celebrated as a World Health Organization (WHO)-led initiative to raise awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco use and to implement policies to reduce tobacco use. This annual celebration educates the public about the dangers of tobacco use, the business practices of tobacco companies, what WHO is doing to fight the tobacco epidemic, and what people around the world can do to reclaim their right to health and to a healthy life and future generations. This year, the global No Tobacco campaign aims to raise awareness of alternative crop production and marketing opportunities for tobacco farmers and encourage them to grow sustainable and nutritious crops. It will also aim to expose the tobacco industry’s efforts to disrupt efforts to replace tobacco cultivation with sustainable crops, thereby contributing to the global food crisis.
History of World Tobacco Day
WHO member states established World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable deaths and diseases it causes. In 1987, the World Health Assembly passed resolution WHA40.38, calling for April 7, 1988 to be “a world no smoking day”. In 1988, resolution WHA42.19 was passed, which provided for the celebration of World No Tobacco Day, each year on 31 May.
World Tobacco Day 2023 Theme: This year, 2023, the World No Tobacco Day theme is “We need food, not tobacco”, intends to persuade tobacco producers to adopt sustainable and nutritious crops by providing awareness on the options of marketing and production alternatives. Additionally, the theme focuses on exposing the efforts of tobacco industry sabotage initiatives to replace tobacco with sustainable crops, leading to the global food crisis.
Importance of World No Tobacco Day (WNTD)
Worldwide, approximately 35 million hectares of land are used for tobacco cultivation each year. Annual deforestation caused by tobacco cultivation is estimated at 2 lakh hectares. Tobacco production has a significantly greater devastating effect on ecosystems because tobacco lands are more prone to desertification (loss of biological productivity) than other agricultural activities such as maize cultivation and livestock grazing. Furthermore, the cultivation of tobacco requires a massive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides which could lead to the impoverishment of soil fertility, with a consequent reduction in the production of other food crops.
Sustainable food production in poor and middle-income countries can be undermined if tobacco is grown as a commercial crop. The majority (90%) of the largest tobacco-producing regions are low- and middle-income countries, with four countries falling into the category of food-deficit low-income countries.
In light of the above scenarios, there is an immediate need for legislative action to curb tobacco cultivation and help farmers transition to growing other food crops. World No Smoking Day successfully implements the above regulations by running annual themed campaigns.