Every year on May 31st the world marks World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) to highlight on the dangers of exposure to tobacco smoke and tobacco use. This year is not going to be an exception. WHO spearheads the process of this commemoration and various themes have been used to commemorate this important day across the world over the years.
This years theme is: Tobacco – A Threat to Development
Numerous research studies have indicated that tobacco has devastating health consequences. Despite having numerous evidences from these studies, tobacco still remains a major challenge especially in Middle and Low Income Countries such as Kenya. The health burden experienced in the country is rising by the day due to tobacco related causes. Kenya is experiencing a sharp rise of cancers, heart complications among other Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) attributed to exposure to second-hand smoke and active tobacco use. In line with this year’s theme, tobacco is posing as a major threat to the global’s attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). If Kenyan policy makers and implementers are not keen to put in place measures to curb the tobacco menace, there is bound to be immeasurable consequences traversing all spheres of lives. Therefore, as we mark this years WNTD, it is vital for all the stakeholders from government and civil society to not only come up with policies but also commit to full implementation of these policies especially for smoke-free environments.