On 31 May 2024, the World Health Organization (WHO) will celebrate World No Tobacco Day.
The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing about 8.3 million people a year globally. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use, while about 1.3 million deaths result from non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
Country surveys consistently show that, in most countries, children aged 13–15 years are using tobacco and nicotine products. To protect future generations and ensure that tobacco use continues to decline, WHO is dedicating this year’s World No Tobacco Day to protecting children from tobacco industry interference.
The campaign aims to amplify young people’s voices, expose tobacco industry tactics and increase public awareness of the need to defend health policies and protect the health of future generations.
WHO stands with young people globally who demand that governments protect them against a deadly industry that targets them with harmful new products while outright lying about the health impacts.
We want you to be a part of World No Tobacco Day. So, using your imagination and creative skills, create a drawing or painting related to tobacco control and enter our art competition. Before you begin, read up on this important health issue and talk to your parents or caregivers, teachers and friends about your ideas for your artwork.
Key facts about tobacco
Tobacco is a leading cause of death, illness and impoverishment.
Tobacco kills up to half of its users who don’t quit
Tobacco kills more than 8.3 million people each year, including an estimated 1.3 million non-smokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke
About 80% of the world’s 1.3 billion tobacco users live in low- and middle-income countries.
In 2020, 22.3% of the world’s population used tobacco: 36.7% of men and 7.8% of women.
To address the tobacco epidemic, WHO Member States adopted the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2003. Currently, 182 countries are Parties to this Convention.
All forms of tobacco use are harmful, and there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco. Cigarette smoking is the most common form of tobacco use worldwide. Other tobacco products include waterpipe tobacco, cigars, cigarillos, roll-your-own tobacco, pipe tobacco, bidis and kreteks, and smokeless tobacco products.
New forms of tobacco, including e-cigarettes and heated tobacco, are as harmful as traditional forms of tobacco. They are all dangerous and cause deadly diseases and harmful health impacts.
According to the latest Global Youth Tobacco Survey, a school-based survey that focuses on young people aged 13–15 years, tobacco smoking is on the rise among women and girls in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. Across countries of the Region, smoking prevalence is 2.6–31.4% among girls and 0.7–29% among women.
Everyone has a role to play
Whether on our own or as part of a community, we can all play a part in protecting younger generations against the tactics of the tobacco industry. We can do this by raising awareness, promoting sound policies, and engaging with civil society, nongovernmental organizations and other people and bodies.
Conditions of entry
- You must be aged 8–17 years to enter the art competition.
- Your entry must be in the form of a drawing or painting that you have created all by yourself. Scan your artwork digitally (using a high-quality scanner) and email it to your teacher, who will forward it to the WHO country office in your country* or to the director of the department of international relations at the national ministry of health.
- The last date to submit your entry is 15 April 2024.
- Entries will be judged by age category: 8–9 years, 10–11 years, 12–13 years, 14–15 years and 16–17 years.
- You must fill in the form below to give us your details – type your answers or write them clearly in pen. A parent or caregiver must provide their consent for you to enter the competition. Scan your form and email it to your teacher for submission along with the scan of your artwork. Entries submitted without the required information cannot be considered.
- WHO reserves the right to use any of the submitted artworks in its information products.
Winning entries will be selected by a panel of judges at the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean in Cairo, Egypt.
The top five winners will each receive a certificate of merit, along with symbolic in-kind prizes. An exhibition of winning entries will be held at the Regional Office premises.
Note to schools and art teachers
While schools should be selective in the entries they submit, all students should be encouraged to take part in the competition in order to raise their awareness of tobacco’s harmful impacts and the tricks used by the tobacco industry to trap younger generations.