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Over 5 Million People
A Year Killed by Tobacco

Updated 11:43 AM HST, May 27, 2011
Posted 10:11 AM HST, May 27, 2011
tray of old cigarettes

World-wide "No Tobacco Day" observed on May 31. Stock image.

By Robin G. Pilus

A worldwide effort to encourage people to quit using tobacco will be held on May 31.  World No Tobacco Day is an annual event sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) to help raise awareness of the dangers of tobacco use.

“Tobacco kills more than 5 million people a year – more than HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria combined – and will kill more than 1 billion people in this century unless urgent action is taken,” said Center for Disease Control (CDC) Director Thomas R. Frieden, MD and MHP.

Health warnings on cigarette packages prompt smokers to think about quitting, according to a 14 nation study, and can help save lives by reducing tobacco use according to a report released by the CDC.

“Warning labels motivate smokers to quit and discourage nonsmokers from starting,” Frieden said.  Warning labels “are well accepted by the public and can be implemented at virtually no cost to governments.”

In Hawaii, various resources are available for individuals who wish to quit using  tobacco.  According the the Maui Coalition for a smoke free Hawaii, Maui County has reduced it’s smoking rate to 15.8%.   This is well below the 25% nationwide rate.

Healthy Hawaii offers these five  helpful tips to people who wish to quit using tobacco:

  • Step one:  Get ready by setting a specific day to quit smoking and creating your own smoke free environment.
  • Step two:  Get support and encouragement.
  • Step three:  Learn new skills and behaviors
  • Step four:  Get medication and use it correctly.
  • Step five:  Be prepared for a relapse or difficult situations.

For more information on World No Tobacco  Day, visit the World Health Organization Tobacco Free Initative.

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