World No Tobacco Day 2019 Theme: Tobacco and Lung Health

World No Tobacco Day is celebrated every year on 31st May to raise awareness on the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco, to draw attention to the health problems that tobacco use can cause and discourage the use of tobacco in any form.

This Year’s Theme “tobacco and lung health” focuses on increasing awareness on the negative impact of tobacco on people’s lung health, from cancer to chronic respiratory disease. The campaign also aims to call to action, advocating for effective approaches to lessen the tobacco usage and fight for tobacco control.

What Do People Do?

World No Tobacco Day is a day for people, non-governmental organizations and governments organize various activities to make people aware of the health problems that tobacco use can cause. These activities include:

  • Public marches and demonstrations, often with vivid banners.
  • Advertising campaigns and educational programs.
  • People going into public places to encourage people to stop smoking.
  • The introduction of bans on smoking in particular places or types of advertising.
  • Meetings for anti-tobacco campaigners.


Tobacco is a product of the fresh leaves of Nicotiana plants. It is used as an aid in spiritual ceremonies and a recreational drug. It originated in America but was introduced to Europe by Jean Nicot, the French ambassador to Portugal in 1559. It quickly became popular and an important trade crop.

Medical research made it clear during the 1900s that tobacco use increased the likelihood of many illnesses including heart attacks, strokes, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), emphysema and many forms of cancer. This is true for always in which tobacco is used, including:

  • Cigarettes and cigars
  • Hand rolling tobacco
  • Bidis and kreteks (cigarettes containing tobacco with herbs or spices)
  • Pipes and water pipes
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Snuff
  • Creamy snuff (a paste consisting of tobacco, clove oil, glycerin, spearmint, menthol, and camphor sold in a toothpaste tube popular in India)
  • utkha (a version of chewing tobacco mixed with areca nut, catechu, slaked lime, and other condiments popular in India and South-East Asia).

On May 15, 1987, the World Health Organization passed a resolution, calling for April 7, 1988, to be the first World No Smoking Day. This date was chosen because it was the 40th anniversary of the World Health Organization. On May 17, 1989, the World Health Organization passed a resolution calling for May 31 to be annually known as World No Tobacco Day. This event has been observed each year since 1989.


Images that symbolize World No Tobacco Day are:

  • Clean ashtrays with flowers in them
  • Ashtrays with images of body parts, such as the heart and lungs, which are damaged by tobacco use
  • No smoking signs
  • Symbols of death, such as gravestones and skulls, with cigarettes
  • Images of the diseases caused by tobacco use

These images are often displayed as posters, on Internet sites and blogs, on clothing and public transport vehicles.

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