World No Tobacco Day Refocuses Attention on Important Goal

Posted on by Tom Frieden, MD, MPH: CDC Director
Dr. Tom Frieden
Tom Frieden, MD, MPH: CDC Director

Every year, tobacco kills more than 440,000 people in the United States and 6 million people worldwide.

If current rates of tobacco use continue unchecked, the number of people who die from tobacco-related illness will exceed 8 million a year by 2030 – and 1 billion in this century. In the United States, after decades of steady declines in smoking, progress has stalled in recent years.

There is much more work to be done in the US and throughout the world if we are to reverse the epidemic of tobacco use. And that’s why today is so important.

Today should remind us about the dangers posed by tobacco, and why we cannot ease up on our efforts to eliminate its use. It’s also a good time to highlight tobacco control programs and initiatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and many other global public health partners.

One of the most important is MPOWER, a set of evidence-based tools developed by the World Health Organization to help countries reduce tobacco use. The MPOWER measures have been proven to work wherever they are implemented, and rely on detailed surveillance and monitoring so that we know the location and extend of the problem. It contains elements to protect non-smokers from the dangers of secondhand smoke, provide help to people who want to quit, inform people about the harms of tobacco use, and prevent exposure to advertising and other cues to smoke.

MPOWER’s data-driven approach dovetails with CDC’s deep expertise gathering essential information needed to identify trends and develop solutions. CDC is a key partner in the Global Tobacco Surveillance System, which uses globally standardized surveys for youth and adults to ensure accurate tracking of the number of people who use tobacco as well as monitoring and evaluation of tobacco control policy measures.

There’s also important work being done here in the US, including CDC’s Tips campaign. This initiative uses hard-hitting television and radio advertising to educate the public about the dangers of tobacco by graphically featuring the experiences of real people harmed by tobacco use. Last year’s Tips campaign saw record numbers of calls to the national 1-800-QUIT-NOW quitline; this year’s expanded campaign features ads running for a longer duration, features more anti-smoking messages including the impact of smoking on others, and targets additional populations.

Please join me on World No Tobacco Day 2013 as we continue to build on our progress to reduce tobacco use and save lives.

Posted on by Tom Frieden, MD, MPH: CDC Director
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2021
Page last updated: May 11, 2021
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