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Tobacco kills six million people each year, 600,000 of whom are non-smokers dying from secondhand smoke. If the trend continues, by 2030, eight million people will die from tobacco use each year. Although tobacco use is currently responsible for ten percent of adult deaths worldwide, it is also the single most preventable cause of death globally.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation is pleased to recognize May 31 as World No Tobacco Day. Every year on this date, the World Health Organization (WHO) highlights the health risks associated with tobacco use. Advocates also join forces to push for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

This year, World No Tobacco Day will focus on raising tobacco taxes in countries throughout the world. Higher taxes have proven to be effective at lowering tobacco use, particularly among lower-income groups and young people.

Growing up in the tobacco-rich state of Kentucky, I know firsthand how dangerous tobacco use can be. In fact, each year 8,000 of my fellow Kentuckians die from tobacco use. In my home state, over one-quarter of the population smokes still today. We rank near the top of states with the heaviest smoking rate.  Even more disturbing, among 12-17 year olds, almost 16 percent smoke, which makes us first in the country for youth smokers. In Kentucky, tobacco use has, unfortunately, been a way of life for a long time. If you were to visit our state you would no doubt be amazed by its beauty, where the grass is literally blue and horses gallop across the countryside. You would also be shocked by the number of tobacco fields you’d see as well as the number of people smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

We firmly believe that higher tobacco taxes could significantly cut down the number of people who find themselves addicted to this substance.

Tobacco use:

-costs people their lives,

-costs billions of dollars each year in healthcare spending and productivity loss.

-exacerbates and contributes to other serious illnesses.

The bottom line-tobacco use is devastating. We are proud to support World No Tobacco Day and educate the public about the significant dangers of tobacco use.

Join the Prevent Cancer Foundation and the World Health Organization in recognizing World No Tobacco Day. Be an advocate and help save lives.