World No Tobacco Day

World No Tobacco Day


  • World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) is observed on May 31 every year around the world, since 1987.
  • Smoking or tobacco use of any form kills nearly 60 lakh people every year all over the world. About 5 to 6 lakh people die of passive smoking.
  • Roughly 10% of the world’s smokers live in India, representing the second largest group of smokers in the world after China.
  • India is home to almost 27.5 crore tobacco users. Among adults (age 15 and above), over 35% use tobacco products, with 48% of men and 20% of women using some form of tobacco.
  • Among the youth in India (age 13-15), 4% smoke cigarette (boys 5% & girls 2%) while 12% use other types of tobacco products (boys 14% & girls 8.5%).
  • Bidis are the most popular tobacco product used in India which comprise 48% of the tobacco market while chewing tobacco and cigarettes account for 38% and 14% respectively.
  • Tobacco is a leading cause of death among Indians aged 30-69. 20% of all male deaths in this age group are caused by smoking alone.
  • Tobacco kills about 10 lakh Indians every year. Bidi and cigarette smokers die 6 to 10 years earlier than their counterparts.
  • The tobacco economy is large compared to most other countries and accounts for 1.5% of overall employment. More than two-thirds of these is rural, though many of these jobs, especially bidi manufacturing, are primarily part-time.
  • In India taxes on cigarettes are low while taxes on bidis have been historically close to zero in rupee terms.
  • Raising bidi taxes to about 10 paisa per unit would add Rs. 3,690 crore to tax revenues and prevent 1.55 crore current and future smokers dying prematurely. Increasing cigarette taxes to Rs. 3.7 per stick would further add to Rs. 14,630 core to tax revenues and prevent 34 lakh premature deaths.


World No Tobacco Day is promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO) to create and extend awareness on the harmful consequences and health effects of tobacco use.The main focus of World No Tobacco Day is to encourage users to refrain from using tobacco products for a period of at least 24 hours. In order to drive home the message of various health effects of tobacco, different themes are used every year to observe World No Tobacco Day. Apart from the tobacco effects on health, its impact on economy and other related aspects also forms a part of the campaign.

World No Tobacco Day was created by the World Health Assembly, a decision-making body of the WHO in 1987 and every year since then it is observed on May 31. The World Health Organisation has selected “tobacco industry interference” as the theme for 2012 World No Tobacco Day. The principal focus of the campaign will be to expose and counter the open and increasingly aggressive tactics of the tobacco industry to damage the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) because of the serious threat they pose to public health, in India and across the world.


  1. Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS): India – WHO 2009-10
  2. CDC Global Youth Tobacco Survey
  3. The Tobacco Atlas – American Cancer Society 2006
  4. The Economics of Tobacco & Tobacco Taxation in India
  5. World No Tobacco Day 2012 – WHO