World Health Organization launches year-long smoking cessation campaign


On Tuesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced it would be launching a year-long campaign urging millions worldwide to quit smoking.

The campaign will lead up to World No Tobacco Day 2021 and is called “Commit to Quit.” The new WHO Quit Challenge was launched Tuesday on WhatsApp, and the publication “More than 100 reasons to quit tobacco” was released Tuesday as well.

According to the WHO, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to millions of tobacco users saying they want to quit. The WHO’s campaign will support at least 100 million people in their efforts to give up tobacco.

“’Commit to Quit’ will help create healthier environments that are conducive to quitting tobacco by advocating for strong tobacco cessation policies; increasing access to cessation services; raising awareness of tobacco industry tactics, and empowering tobacco users to make successful quit attempts through ‘quit & win’ initiatives,” the organization said.

The campaign will focus on 22 countries across the globe, including the United States, Mexico, Germany, Brazil, Iran, Pakistan, China, Poland, Turkey, and Russia, among others – countries where most of the world’s tobacco users live.

Along with its partners, WHO will create and build-up digital communities where those wishing to quit can find social support.

“Smoking kills 8 million people a year, but if users need more motivation to kick the habit, the pandemic provides the right incentive,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Earlier this year, WHO released briefs that showed smokers are at a higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19 and face a higher risk of dying from the disease. Tobacco is also a risk factor for diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease, and diabetes, all of which put people living with those diseases at higher risk of complications from COVID-19.