What is World No Tobacco Day?
World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) is an annual global event sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO). Falling on May 31st, WNTD’s purpose is to inform the public on “the dangers of using tobacco, the business practices of tobacco companies, what WHO is doing to fight the tobacco epidemic, and what people around the world can do to claim their right to health and healthy living and to protect future generations”.
WNTD was initially created in 1987, with the World Health Assembly passing a resolution that would declare April 7th 1988 a “world no-smoking day”. The goal was to encourage current tobacco users to abstain from using tobacco products for a 24-hour period. In 1988, a second resolution passed naming May 31st the official date for World No Tobacco Day and making it an annual event.
Each year, WHO chooses a different theme to accompany the day. With the first theme being “Tobacco or Health: Choose Health”. Since then, we have seen various themes focused on health, tobacco industry tactics, and ways we can fight back. This year’s theme of “Commit to Quit” comes from the renewed commitment to quit many people who currently use tobacco products have found as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
WNTD 2021: “Commit to Quit”
For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a new reason to quit their tobacco use, but what does that look like for people who are unsure of quitting or for people who feel the pandemic has decreased their motivation to quit? Tobacco cessation is a different process for everyone, and there is no single guaranteed path to a successful quit. Similarly, the idea of “Commit to Quit” might look different from one person to the next.
Your “Commit to Quit” might be one hour, one day, one year, or maybe forever. Your “Commit to Quit” might not be for this year’s World No Tobacco Day event, but rather a new commitment to yourself to quit one day in the future. “Commit to Quit” might mean taking the time on May 31st to simply consider reducing your tobacco use, or it might mean taking time to explore the options and resources that are available to you.
Ways to Get Involved
There are many ways to get involved with this year’s World No Tobacco Day event, including options to meet you wherever you’re at on your quit journey. You can:
- Take the “Commit to Quit” pledge
- Create a quit plan
- Check out content with tips and resources (something you’ve already done by reading this blog!) from:
- Give quitting or even a practice quit a shot on May 31st or any day you decide
- Use the day to think about quitting sometime in the future, including considering:
- Your motivations/reasons to quit
- The benefits of quitting
- Reaching out to a TTS or a local quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) to explore what quitting might look like for you
There are many resources available online when it comes to tobacco cessation. In addition to our counseling-based tobacco treatment services at UHHB we have our tobacco blog, a monthly live stream (every second Tuesday of the month at 2:00 PM) on Facebook and Youtube (livestreams recorded and saved to both websites), and our World No Tobacco Day video series being posted this month leading up to the big day. You can also reach out to our Tobacco team for additional information and resources.
If you’re interested in other web- or phone-based resources you can check out Smokefree.gov and smartphone applications like “SmokeFree”, “myQuitTime”, and “quitStart”.These apps and websites can be helpful in setting up a plan, tracking your days quit, building motivation, and finding distractions or other coping strategies for cravings.
Local quitlines are another great resource to utilize to build motivation and start your own reduction plan. You might also reach out to your doctor or another trusted healthcare provider if you are interested in quit medications or discussing the benefits of quitting or reducing your tobacco use.
Commit to Quit? Maybe!
World No Tobacco Day can be a great day to either start or continue your quit journey. Wherever you are, or whatever “Commit to Quit” looks like for you, remember that tobacco cessation looks different for everyone. Any attempt you make in reducing your use whether it be a definitive quit, smoking one less cigarette a day or week, deciding to try again after a past attempt didn’t go like you hoped, or simply reading up on available resources for tobacco cessation is a step worth celebrating. Whether you’re planning to participate in this World No Tobacco Day or it’s just another day for you, any day, regardless of whether it’s a “tobacco holiday” or not, is a good day to “Commit to Quit”.
Want to learn more about this year’s World No Tobacco Day or just interested in tobacco reduction resources? Contact our tobacco reduction team:
Amber Jager – (313) 316-6226
Caitlyn Clock – (313) 316-7561