World No Tobacco Day is an initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) to make this world a healthier place to live in. It aims to eliminate the use of tobacco in all forms, thereby reducing the risk of various health concerns. It started off in 1987 as World No Smoking Day to bring in awareness about the ill effects of tobacco use and to encourage smokers to either reduce or quit smoking. This was celebrated on the 7th of April. A year later, the initiative was renamed World No Tobacco Day which was to be celebrated on 31st of May, every year. Wellness events, activities, discussions, webinars, talk shows are some of the methods by which WHO propagates World No Tobacco Day across the world.

The yearly undertaking focuses on a unique tobacco related theme to increase the awareness further and to achieve a global reach on tobacco concerns. The theme for 2019 is Tobacco and Lung Health. This is to bring in awareness about the importance of having healthy lungs which play a vital role in our overall physical health. It also talks about the ways in which tobacco can damage the lungs. It encourages eradicating the use of tobacco to create a world where everyone can breathe in safely.

The initiative aims to put an end to the use of tobacco in all forms: cigarettes, cigars, bidis, creamy snuff, kreteks, pipes, gutkha, chewing tobacco, rolling tobacco, snuff, snus and many more. It also talks about tobacco addiction and associates nicotine as the main cause for the addiction. Nicotine is a chemical found in tobacco that can trick the human brain in making itself seem like one of the necessities like food and water, which in turn leads to addiction. In addition to informing the risks of active smoking, the initiative also sheds light on the risks of passive smoking.

Tobacco consumption in India

The studies conducted by the World Health Organization show that CVDs (Cardiovascular Diseases) are the number one cause of death, causing 2,751,972 each year.

The studies also show that the following are some of the health concerns caused by tobacco:

  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Diarrheal disease
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Lower respiratory infection

Additionally, studies show that around 28% of the population consumes tobacco and that the mean age for tobacco consumption is around 18 years. This calls for increased awareness to prevent the initial phase of tobacco consumption. Control measures are essential for preventing and controlling deaths and disabilities caused by the consumption of tobacco.

How organizations and employees are affected by smoking

Smoking can cause health concerns at the employee’s end that can incur financial losses to the organization. The losses could manifest in the following ways:

  • Increased medical insurance coverage.
  • Productivity losses in terms of absenteeism.
  • Additional costs for replacement workforce.

For an employee, the losses could manifest in the following ways:

  • Financial losses in terms of wages lost and not being eligible for bonuses.
  • Health concerns caused by tobacco consumption.
  • Addiction concerns.

Studies show that around 70% of the employees are interested in quitting smoking. This makes it important for organizations to come up with initiatives and strategies that can help employees in quitting smoking.

What the organizations can do about it

Organizations can work on strategies regarding wellness initiatives encouraging employees to choose healthier lifestyles. The following are some of the ways to achieve this.

  • Creating awareness on healthy lifestyle choices: via motivational mailers. This instils a sense of reflection that can lead to a decision being made to quit tobacco intake.
  • Conducting webinars: that can be accessed at a time and location that’s convenient at the employee’s end. The flexibility in accessibility can ensure a higher participation rate.
  • Including wellness messages: as a part of the organization branding. This includes walls, desks, diaries and other stationery.
  • Keeping a stock of healthy alternatives: like nutrition bars, fruit cakes and baked chips. This can help employees in making a switch from tobacco consumption to safer alternatives.
  • Incentivizing events including monetary rewards: to encourage employees to quit tobacco consumption. Conducting activities that require quitting tobacco consumption for a while and appreciating the ones who could make it happen with incentives, will encourage others to give it a try.
  • Creating a healthy work environment: that’s free from unnecessary stress and pressure can lead to a decreased tobacco consumption rate. Employees who smoke tend to smoke more frequently when they’re stressed out.
  • Organizing theme-based discussions: on a regular basis helps in discovering information that might be useful. Getting the entire team to offer suggestions on various wellness topics can help in knowing strategies that are rational and reasonable.
  • Providing the option to avail Employee Assistance Programs: to interact with industry experts. This can help employees to address their concerns to receive expert advice.

Let’s work together to increase awareness on various health concerns that can be caused by tobacco consumption. Get in touch with us to organize wellness events to make your workplace healthier and happier!

“You’re always one decision away from a totally different life.”

– Mark Batterson

With 17+ years of managing wellness and wellbeing initiatives for employees, we have the right strategies for you to deliver a holistic wellness program in your organization that will be embraced by your workforce. Call us today to know more!

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