World No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2017

Tobacco – a threat to development

Every year, on 31 May, WHO and partners mark World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), highlighting the health and additional risks associated with tobacco use, and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

The theme for World No Tobacco Day 2017 is "Tobacco – a threat to development."

This presents a unique opportunity for all stakeholders to identify the socio-economic determinants and consequences of the tobacco consumption and vigorously pursue strategies and policies to reduce its impact on global and national development.

Tobacco control supports health and development

WHO is calling on countries to prioritize and accelerate tobacco control efforts as part of their responses to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

All countries benefit from successfully controlling the tobacco epidemic, above all by protecting their citizens from the harms of tobacco use and reducing its economic toll on national economies. The aim of the Sustainable Development Agenda, and its 17 global goals, is to ensure that "no one is left behind."

Tobacco control has been enshrined in the Sustainable Development Agenda. It is seen as one of the most effective means to help achieve SDG target 3.4 of a one-third reduction globally, by 2030, of premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular disease, cancers and chronic obstructed pulmonary disease.

Strengthening implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco in all countries is an additional target to be met by governments developing national sustainable development responses.

Tobacco control and the development goals

  • Globally, more than 7 million deaths occur from tobacco use every year, a figure that is predicted to grow to more than 8 million a year by 2030 without intensified action.
  • In India, over a million precious lives are lost due to tobacco use every year in India.
  • Tobacco use is the single common risk factor for the four noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) that are most prevalent in India – Cancers, Diabetes, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Cardio Vascular Diseases (CVDs). These diseases together account for 53% of all deaths in India.
  • Tobacco use costs national economies enormously through increased health-care costs and decreased productivity. It worsens health inequalities and exacerbates poverty, as the poorest people spend less on essentials such as food, education and health care.
  • The total economic cost, attributable to tobacco use from all diseases in India for persons aged 35-69 years, amounted to a staggering US$ 22.4 billion (Rs 104 500 crores) in 2011.
  • In 2011, the loss to the country as a whole from tobacco related premature mortality was estimated to be Rs 73 000 crores.
  • Through increasing cigarette taxes worldwide by US$1, an extra US$190 billion could be raised for development. High tobacco taxes contribute to revenue generation for governments, reduce demand for tobacco, and offer an important revenue stream to finance development activities.