Today marks World No Tobacco Day, an initiative established by the World Health Organization to draw global attention to the widespread prevalence of tobacco use and its deadly consequences.

It’s not just about the smokers. Second-hand smoke is an invisible killer, striking those who have never even held a cigarette in their hands. This reinforces the responsibility we all have to ensure a smoke-free environment, not just for our own health, but for those around us.

Direct tobacco use is responsible for the death of 7 million people annually, and around 1.2 million non-smokers succumb due to exposure to second-hand smoke. This stark reality should not be ignored.

The most common of these cancers is lung cancer, with tobacco smoking as its principal cause. This disease alone claims 1.8 million lives each year, a chilling reminder of the severe and lasting damage smoking can do to our bodies.

But amidst the grim statistics, there’s hope. It’s estimated that almost 50% of all cancer cases can be prevented. A key part of this prevention is tobacco control. By saying no to tobacco, we’re not only safeguarding our health, we’re contributing to a healthier world.

As we mark #WorldNoTobaccoDay, let’s reflect on the role we can each play in combatting the tobacco epidemic. Whether you’re a smoker trying to quit, a parent educating your children about the dangers of smoking, or an organization promoting a smoke-free environment, your efforts matter.

Let’s spread the message and start conversations that can save lives. In doing so, we can inspire each other to create a world where tobacco is a thing of the past. Together, we can make a difference.

A smoke-free world begins with each one of us. On this World No Tobacco Day, let’s pledge to live healthier, breathe easier, and protect those we love.