May 31 - World No Tobacco Day

Society » HEALTH | May 31, 2022, Tuesday // 08:53
Bulgaria: May 31 - World No Tobacco Day @Flickr

Every year on May 31, World No Smoking Day is celebrated at the initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The initiative is held around the world, highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use and calling for effective policies to reduce consumption levels.

The World Health Organization has been celebrating World No Tobacco Day since 1988. In 2016, the motto of World Tobacco Day was "Standardized packaging - let's be ready for it". Studies on the health effects of "regular" or standardized cigarette packs show that they can deter non-smokers from gaining the habit and can reduce the number of cigarettes consumed by smokers.

Smoking is one of the main risk factors for a number of socially significant diseases such as cardiovascular, oncological, lung. According to the World Health Organization, smoking kills about 6 million people each year. More than 5 million of these victims are the result of the direct use of cigarettes, and the rest - the so-called "passive smoking". The reason for the high health risk posed by cigarettes is the fact that they contain over 4,000 chemicals. Of these, at least 250 have been identified as dangerous and 50 as carcinogenic.

For these reasons, the World Health Organization and the European Commission are pursuing policies to reduce bad habits in all countries. In line with these ideas, in 2012 Bulgaria introduced a ban on smoking in public places. The WHO has called on all parties to consider even tougher measures to combat smoking. These include limiting smoking scenes in teen movies, introducing anti-ads for the habit before screening, and more.

For almost 18% of all deaths in Bulgaria, smoking is one of the main causes, and for the European Union this percentage is 17%. This is shown by the data from the Health Profile for Bulgaria prepared by the European Commission, 2021.

The prevalence of smoking in Bulgaria among adults is the highest in the EU, and in 2019 almost every third adult (29%) smoked daily. In 2018, about 38% of 15-year-old girls and 26% of boys reported smoking in the last month, the highest percentage in the EU.

In Bulgaria this year marks 10 years (June 1, 2012) of the ban on smoking in indoor and some open public places introduced by the Health Act (Art. 56 and Art. 56a).

According to the WHO, tobacco pollutes the air, producing 14 g of CO2 throughout the life cycle of a cigarette. Tobacco production contributes to almost 84 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year. Air pollution in the country is 9% and in the EU - 4%, which is one of the causes of deaths from diseases of the circulatory system, respiratory diseases and some cancers.

Across the country, regional health inspectorates are organizing various initiatives to promote World No Tobacco Day. In the counseling and smoking cessation offices, active smokers can take advantage of free services and consultations.

The Ministry of Health reminds that every smoker can get free advice on how to quit smoking all year round. This can be done in any of the 28 offices for counseling and smoking cessation in the regional health inspectorates.

You can get more information on the National telephone line for smoking cessation - tel. +359 700 10 323.

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