Every year on May 31, the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners are marking the world No Tobacco Day, highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use and promoting effective policies to reduce the use of tobacco. World No Tobacco Day is marked since 1987. Statistics show that one cigarette shortens life by 12 minutes. According to the WHO, 1.1 billion people worldwide smoke of which 200 million are women. 6 million people per year die from smoking, among them 600 000 are passive smokers. In Macedonia are registered nearly 700,000 smokers, spending 11 tons of cigarettes annually or 5, 5 kilograms of tobacco per capita. The negative impact of cigarettes and cigarette smoke is directly linked to many serious diseases. Adverse health effects due to about 2500 toxins contained in tobacco and about 4000 substances contained in cigarette smoke. At least 250 of these chemicals are toxic and more than 60 of them are known as carcinogens. The consequences of the use of tobacco are: lung cancer, cervical and oral cavity, heart diseases and diseases of the blood vessels and brain, chronic bronchitis, chronic infectious disease ect. Passive smoking (inhaling smoke than those who smoke) increases the risk of non-smokers from lung cancer and the risk of sudden death syndrome at babies.

 This year’s motto of the World No tobacco Day is “Stop illegal trafficking of tobacco products”. On the occasion of World No tobacco Day in 2015 urged the countries to work together to stop the illicit trade in tobacco products. Trafficking is a global problem, in terms of health, legislation, economy and pursuing a policy and corruption. According to information received from international customs services, 1 in 10 spent cigarettes purchased illegally. The European Commission estimates that the illicit trade of cigarettes costs the European Union and its members more than 10 billion euros a year loss of taxes and customs revenues. In order to deal with this problem, in November 2012, the international community has accepted the Protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products, the WHO’s first report under the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

The objectives of the WHO campaign:

  • Raise awareness on the harm to people’s health caused by the illicit trade in tobacco products, especially the youth and low-income groups, due to the increased accessibility and affordability of these products due to their lower costs.
  • Show how health care gains and programmes, tobacco control policies, like increased tax and prices, pictorial health warnings and other measures are undermined by the illicit trade in tobacco products.
  • Demonstrate how the tobacco industry has been involved in the illicit trade of tobacco products.
  • Highlight how the illicit trade of tobacco products is a means of amassing great wealth for criminal groups to finance other organised crime activities, including drugs, human and arms trafficking, as well as terrorism.
  • Promote the ratification of, accession to and use of the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products by all Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and its early entry into force through the active involvement of all relevant stakeholders.