ON 31 May each year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) celebrates World No Tobacco Day, highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce consumption.

Tobacco use is the second cause of death globally (after hypertension) and is currently responsible for killing one in 10 adults worldwide.

The World Health Assembly created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and its lethal effects.

Tobacco use is the number one preventable epidemic that the health community faces.

The theme of this year's World No Tobacco Day is "The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control", the world's foremost tobacco control instrument.

The first treaty ever negotiated under the auspices of WHO, it represents a significant achievement in the advancement of public health and is already one of the most rapidly and widely embraced treaties in the history of the United Nations.

The treaty has been signed by more than 170 Parties and provides new legal dimensions for cooperation in tobacco control.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the world.

This year, more than 5 million people will die from a tobacco-related heart attack, stroke, cancer, lung ailment or other disease.

That does not include the more than 600,000 people – more than a quarter of them children – who will die from exposure to second-hand smoke.

The annual death toll from the global epidemic of tobacco use could rise to 8 million by 2030.

Having killed 100 million people during the 20th century, tobacco use could kill 1 billion during the 21st century.

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