Father Saw Hubert
World No Tobacco Day is observed around the world every year on May 31.
This yearly celebration informs the public on the dangers of using tobacco, the business practices of tobacco companies, what the World Health Organization 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.
Member States of the WHO created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes.
The day is further intended to draw attention to the widespread prevalence of tobacco use and to negative health effects, which currently lead to more than 8 million deaths each year worldwide, including 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
In the past years, the day has been met with both enthusiasm and resistance around the globe from governments, public health organizations, smokers, growers, and the tobacco industry.
In Myanmar, tobacco is used by teenagers, especially in remote provinces, because they think that it is a cultural practice. They see their elders, who are not aware of its dangers, smoke and chew tobacco.
Many studies have shown that only a few people understand the risks of tobacco to one's health, including lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, and other ailments.
Even fires are caused by tobacco. There were already several incidents of building fires due to cigarettes and wildfires that devastated forests and killed wildlife.
It has always been said that smoking is detrimental to the children’ health. Children get what is called as second-hand smoke that poisons the air.
As the world suffers from COVID-19, it would seem that smoking is not helping prevent it.
According to the WHO, smokers are likely to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 as they may also already have lung disease or reduced lung capacity that greatly increase risk of serious illness.
Also, money that is supposed to be used for food or health care goes to cigarettes.
In Myanmar, people have this habit of chewing betel nut mixed with tobacco as a substitute to smoking.
Many are addicted to it, but it makes their teeth look dirty.
The World No Tobacco Day is an opportunity for us to teach the youth avoid the dangers of tobacco.
It is a long way to convince smokers, young and old, to quit the habit. Everyday is a challenge to resist its temptation.
Personally, I had a bad experience with it. I was a smoker, and in 1993, I was treated for tuberculosis. The doctor advised me to stop smoking. For years now, I have stopped the bad habit.
I feel free from the bondage of the bad habit.