World No Tobacco Day

What is World No Tobacco Day? 

World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) is an annual awareness day taking place on 31 May. It was created in 1987 by Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness of the harms caused by tobacco products to people, public health, communities and the environment. 

World No Tobacco Day aims to draw attention to the business practices of tobacco companies to capture generations of consumers and their interference in policy decisions that undermines effective tobacco control. 

Finally, World No Tobacco Day serves to highlight what WHO is doing to fight the tobacco epidemic that kills up to half its users and contributes to more than eight million people dying every year, and what people can do to protect future generations and allow everyone the chance to claim their right to health. 

What is the theme of World No Tobacco Day 2022?

The theme of World No Tobacco Day 2022 is "Protect the environment", highlighting that, throughout its lifecycle, tobacco pollutes the planet and damages the health of all people. 

Every year, the theme of WNTD addresses a specific issue related to tobacco and its industry.  

This year, the theme focuses on the impact of tobacco on the environment and aims to expose efforts by tobacco companies to “greenwash” their reputation by marketing themselves as environmentally friendly. 

Discarded cigarette butts represent the first source of plastic pollution in the world, while the use of pesticides to grow tobacco plants as well as deforestation (3.5 million hectares of land destroyed each year) and the use of large amounts of water to cultivate tobacco, damaging ecosystems and reducing climate resilience. Tobacco companies also contribute 84 megatons of carbon dioxide equivalent to greenhouse gases. 

Just as tobacco companies are most active in marketing their products in low- and middle-income countries, so do they concentrate up to 90% of tobacco production in these regions that bear their highest environmental burden. 

The campaign calls on governments and policy makers to step up legislation, including implementing and strengthening existing schemes, such as the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

UICC engagement in tobacco control 

UICC fully supports the celebration of World No Tobacco Day and puts the emphasis on raising awareness on the deleterious effect of tobacco use on health, and specifically on cancer cases and deaths. 

Tobacco use is linked to at least 20 cancer types and the leading preventable cause of cancer by a wide margin. Indeed, tobacco products cause some 2.4 million deaths globally every year, almost a quarter of all deaths due to cancer (10 million).  

For this reason, UICC advocates for effective tobacco control in low- and middle-income countries where 80% of the world’s smokers live, supports the implementation of cost-effective measures to curb tobacco use, and raises awareness about efforts by the tobacco industry to expand its market and fight anti-smoking legislation. 

Spread the word!  

Tobacco use is a major issue that impacts all communities and impedes the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. It has direct harmful effects on its consumer’s health, but it also affects the country’s economy, environment, women’s health and childhood labour.  

UICC recommends that its members raising awareness about the dangers of tobacco use on WNTD on this day and relay the WNTD messages to the general public but also every stakeholder, decision makers and government.  

You can find our ready-to-share social media messages and banners for World No Tobacco Day 2022 below, and further resources and videos on tobacco control on our tobacco control resource page.


World No Tobacco Day ready-made social media messages

Ready-made Social Media Messages

Tobacco cultivation produces almost 84 megatons of CO2 emissions per year  - Curbing tobacco production will improve people’s health and the health of the planet. #NoTobacco #TobaccoExposed @uicc @who

Tobacco does not only harm the smoker – it also harms the environment. For every 300 cigarettes made, one tree is cut down. 6 trillion cigarettes are made each year.  #NoTobacco #TobaccoExposed @uicc @who 

Smoking cigarettes emits toxic substances into the atmosphere which harm the environment and people. Tobacco cessation will help smokers, other people, and the planet. #NoTobacco #TobaccoExposed @uicc @who

Globally 1.8 million deaths are caused by lung cancer annually. Tobacco smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer, contributing to roughly 1.2 million deaths per year. Quitting smoking can significantly reduce the risk of lung cancer. #NoTobacco #TobaccoExposed @uicc

Tobacco taxation is one of the most effective and cost-effective measures for controlling tobacco use and preventing NCDs, including cancer. #NoTobacco  #TobaccoExposed @uicc

Tobacco goes far beyond an issue of health – it places a tremendous burden on countries least equipped to respond to tobacco-related illness and death. #NoTobacco #TobaccoExposed @uicc

Tobacco products kill more than 8 million people every year. With such a high death rate, tobacco industries must continuously find new consumers to replace the ones that their products are killing to maintain revenue. #NoTobacco #TobaccoExposed @uicc

Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of cancer and stopping smoking is one of the best things we can do to reduce our risk of cancer. #NoTobacco #TobaccoExposed @uicc

7 in 10 teens are estimated to be exposed to e-cigarette adverts and teen e-cigarette users are also more likely to start smoking tobacco. Governments must take a strong regulatory approach to e-cigarettes, particularly to protect youth. #NoTobacco #TobaccoExposed @uicc

Tobacco use burdens the global economy with an estimated USD 1.4 trillion in health care costs and lost productivity each year. #NoTobacco #TobaccoExposed @uicc

Quitting tobacco at any age can make huge a difference, increasing your life expectancy and improving quality of life. #NoTobacco #TobaccoExposed @uicc

Ending online tobacco and e-cigarette advertising now will prevent future generations from seeing these products as “normal” and getting hooked. #NoTobacco #TobaccoExposed @uicc

World No Tobacco Day External Resources

World No Tobacco Day 2022:

Tobacco and its environmental impact: an overview (WHO) 

WHO FCTC and UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) 

Tobacco and the environment (Truth initiative)  

Tobacco and the environment (Tobacco Tactics) 

Tobacco and the environment (ASH UK) 

Environmental consequences of tobacco production and consumption (The lancet) 

World No Tobacco Day general information: 

World No Tobacco Day (WHO) 

World No Tobacco Day (CDC) 

World No Tobacco Day 2021: Joining forces for tobacco control by Anil D’Cruz 

World No Tobacco Day (American Lung association) 

News and blogs on World No Tobacco Day
Young boy sitting on a pile of tobacco leaves
25 May 2022

Podcast "Let's Talk Cancer": How the tobacco industry harms our health and our planet

Dr Ulysses Dorotheo talks to Dr Cary Adams about the harms caused by tobacco to the environment and measures to take to improve tobacco control. 

Logs piled outside tobacco curing barns in Malawi.
18 May 2022

The cigarette industry’s green disguise

Marking the upcoming World No Tobacco Day, Sonja von Eichborn explores the tobacco industry’s toll on the environment and its greenwashing strategy.

Men smoking waterpipes outside in the evening
16 May 2022

UICC members in the MEA region work to reduce tobacco production and use

Many countries in low-resource settings face significant hurdles in enforcing anti-tobacco laws, enabling farmers to transition to alternative crops, and fighting the smuggling of chemicals and tobacco products.

Close up of a person's hand putting out a cigarette in the sand next to other cigarette butts
22 April 2022

Tobacco is poisoning the environment as well as public health

UICC is supporting World No Tobacco Day on 31 May – highlighting the detrimental impact of tobacco on the environment – with a collection of digital tools to promote more effective tobacco control.

Last update: 
Wednesday 25 May 2022