World No Tobacco Day is an annual campaign by the World Health Organisation (WHO) held on the 31st of May each year. The campaign aims to draw attention to the dangers of tobacco and encourage governments as well as the public, both users of tobacco and not, to confront the global tobacco crisis.

The WHO estimates that tobacco kills more than 7 million people each year. Of these 6 million are the result of the direct use of tobacco products. More alarmingly 890,000 deaths are the result of exposure to second hand smoke. It is for this reason that the campaign encourages everyone to get involved in helping to reduce the use of tobacco.

In Australia we are all aware of the health risks associated with smoking. Yet despite many successful government campaigns, smoking continues to be the leading risk factor for preventable cancer. Furthermore 1 in 5 deaths in Australia can be attributable to cancer. The good news is it is estimated that only 16% of Australians continue to smoke and that 3 out of 4 smokers are interested in quitting.

There are now many treatment options available for smokers, meaning there is no better time to quit. This World No Tobacco Day, come into the pharmacy and discuss ‘quit smoking’ options or reach out to someone that smokes and encourage them to quit.