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May 31st is observed as the World No Tobacco Day globally. On the suggestion of the World Health Organization, this day was created in 1987. As the name suggests, the main motive behind this day is to create awareness regarding the ill-effects of tobacco. It aims to encourage people to restrain themselves from the use of tobacco and alcohol. Every year local as well as state bodies join hands to organize several events in order to make public aware of the negative health effects of tobacco and to help them get rid of their tobacco addiction. Various activities like city-wide march, anti-tobacco meetings and poster making competitions are held to spread awareness.


Every year, a theme is decided for this day and all the articles, pamphlets and activities are centered around this theme. The theme for 2016 is: ‘Get ready for plain packaging’. Plain packaging of tobacco products with graphic health warning issued is the tobacco related agenda of WHO for year 2016. It is believed that the unattractive packaging and graphic health warning will help in reduction of tobacco sale. It limit false advertisement and misleading information about the tobacco use and will make the health warnings about tobacco use more effective. This year, WHO is asking all the countries to ban colorful and attractive packaging of tobacco products and instead opt for plain packs.


While WHO and other anti-tobacco bodies are doing their best to reduce the deaths caused by tobacco use by creating maximum awareness, the World No Tobacco Day is facing resistance from smokers, industries and tobacco farmers from all over the world. The International Tobacco Growers Association argues that if tobacco is banned, the livelihood of tobacco farmers will suffer. The industries in tobacco business are resisting the ban because of the monetary blow that they will have to face if consumers refuse to buy their products. Other businesses associated in the marketing and packaging of these tobacco products are also not very keen to see the reduction of tobacco market share.


Hence, the World No Tobacco Day has mixed response world-wide. While WHO is trying to create awareness and help people make the right choice – their life and health, some industries, for their personal gain do not want its consumers to overcome their addiction and make the right choice.  We all should join hands and create as much awareness as possible so that this day can be a success.

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