Every year the World Health Organisation (WHO) and partners commemorate World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) in order to raise awareness on health risks while promoting effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption. The theme for this year is the illicit trade of tobacco products.
In order to promote WNTD, many countries around the globe have suspended the sales of cigarettes for the day. Moreover, institutions such as FIFA have also embraced the campaign.
FIFA and the Local Organising Committee for the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2015 have made sure that all 54 matches will be smoke free.
The WHO first launched the WNTD in 1988. Drawing attention to the illicit trade, member states are encouraged to sign a protocol to phase out illegal business.
The crime raises many global concerns on issues such as health, economic, legal, governance and corruption reports WNTD.
The illegal trade conducted through smuggling, illegal manufacturing and counterfeiting, also plays a negative role in the economy as government taxes are avoided when cigarettes are sold at a much cheaper price against legally sold products. This in turn affects the government budget whereby authorities are curbed from using the budget for funding public services.
According to the WHO, one in 10 cigarettes in the market are illegal.
The youth are one of the biggest victims of the tobacco epidemic, either through consumption or trade. When traded at a lower price, a gateway is open for easy access, especially for those who have a lower income. As a result triggering tobacco related health problems, one of the biggest global public health hazards.
In terms of trade, children from less advantaged homes are taken advantage of through the tobacco manufacturing sector, as they are drawn into the sector out of desperation to support their families.
These children also become prone to suffer from "green tobacco sickness,” a type of nicotine poisoning which arises when the skin absorbs nicotine from the surface of wet tobacco plants.