SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – May 31 is World No Tobacco Day. This is a day when people around the world are urged by the World Health Organization (WHO) and others to learn about the dangers of using tobacco products as well as the business practices of tobacco companies.
This year specifically, WHO is asking that people learn more about the impact of tobacco usage and products on the environment. In recognition of this day, here are some facts about tobacco, it’s usage, the impact it has on the environment and the companies that sell it.
Rural residents and southerners are more likely to smoke
People in rural areas are more likely to smoke than people not living in rural areas. Rural residents are disproportionately impacted by lung cancer than those living in urban and metropolitan areas. Those living in the South are also more likely to smoke than those living in other parts of the United States.
Tobacco kills the environment
Twenty two billion tons of water are used every year to create tobacco products, according to the WHO. Not only that, but 600,000 trees are chopped down yearly just for the production of tobacco products.
Smoking leads to preventable deaths
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing over 480,000 people in the country per year. Worldwide, tobacco usage killed anywhere from 7 million to over 8 million people per year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the WHO.
Tobacco companies and targeted advertising
Research published in the American Journal of Public Health found that tobacco companies specifically target youth with advertising to “initiate” them into smoking. The goal of this advertising, according to the study, was to push young people through the “stages” of smoking. This means pressuring youth to go from not smoking, to occasionally smoking, to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.
How do you quit?
For those wondering if it is time to quit tobacco, there are many resources available. For youth, there is a website you can visit through the link here that will offer advice and help in the process. For adults, you can visit the website here to find tips on quitting and staying tobacco free.