The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a year-long global campaign for World-No-Tobacco Day 2021, dubbed “Commit to Quit.”
According to WHO, COVID-19 pandemic has led to millions of tobacco users saying they want to quit, thus the campaign will support at least 100 million people as they try to give up tobacco through communities of quitters.
“Smoking kills 8 million people a year, but users need more motivation to kick away the habit and the pandemic provides the right incentive,” said WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a statement.
“Commit to Quit,” will help create healthier environments that are conducive to quitting tobacco by advocating for strong tobacco cessation policies, increasing access to cessation services, raising awareness of tobacco industry tactics and empowering tobacco users to make successful quit attempts through “quit & win” initiatives.
Dr. Ruediger Krech, Director of Health Promotion said that millions of people worldwide want to quit tobacco, thus we must seize the opportunity and invest in services to help them be successful.
WHO, together with partners, will create and build-up digital communities where people can find the social support they need to quit, with the focus being on high burden countries where the majority of the world’s tobacco users live.
Both global and regional cessation tools will be rolled out as part of the campaign. WHO’s 24/7 digital health worker to help people quit tobacco is available in English and will soon be released to support people in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish.
WHO released a scientific brief earlier this year showing that smokers are at higher risk of developing severe disease and death from COVID-19.
Tobacco is also a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease and diabetes moreover those who live with these conditions are more vulnerable to severe COVID-19.
Quitting tobacco is challenging, especially with the added social and economic stresses that have come as a result of the pandemic.
Worldwide, around 780 million people say they want to quit, but only 30 percent of them have access to the tools that can help them do so. Together with partners, WHO will provide people with the tools and resources they need to make a successful quit attempt.