By: Summer Perritt
Pedro Menendez High School
This Saturday marks the 26th annual “World No Tobacco Day” hosted by the World Health Organization.
Started in 1988 as an initiative to abstain from smoking and all tobacco usage for a 24-hour period, World No Tobacco Day has evolved into a global movement celebrated by all walks of life.
Six million people die each year from tobacco usage; and yet, the consumption of tobacco continues to rise. The need to raise awareness about the perils of tobacco usage have greatly increased. If the trend continues, by 2013, nearly 8 million people will die each year, 80% of which will be among people living in low to middle income countries.
All of these deaths are preventable, if only one could stop their tobacco consumption or, on the platform for this year’s World No Tobacco Day, the accessibility of tobacco products were to decrease.
It was determined that a raise of taxes that increased the price tobacco products by 10%, decreases Tobacco consumption by 4% in upper income countries and 8% in low to middle income countries. This tax increase adds an average of 1.4 billion dollars to the economy of the respective country and can be used to help fund other health initiatives.
The Goals of this year’s World No Tobacco Day are as follows:
1) Governments increase taxes on tobacco to levels that reduce tobacco consumption;
2) Individuals and civil society organizations encourage their governments to increase taxes on tobacco to levels that reduce consumption.
So what can you do? Well if you’re not one to rally outside courthouses or visit gas stations all over the county, the best way to get involved is to participate in the Pedro Menendez Students Working Against Tobacco Club Beach Clean-up on Saturday, May 31st, from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm.
We will meet at the A street beach ramp. We will provide the bags and gloves, just check in at the tent.
With that in mind, what will you make of May 31st?
Will you make it a day to sit by and watch an epidemic sweep through our city, or a day to take action and make a difference?