Celebrated on May 31, the World Health Organization (WHO) develops global campaigns centred on increasing awareness and understanding of health impacts to influence health outcomes.  According to the World Health Organization, "One in every 10 cigarettes, and many other tobacco products, consumed worldwide are illegal, making the illicit trade of tobacco products a major global concern from many perspectives, including health, legal, economic, governance and corruption. The tobacco industry and criminal groups are among those who profit from the illegal tobacco trade, leaving the public to pay the health and security costs."

Key facts:

  • Tobacco kills up to half of its users.
  • Tobacco kills nearly 6 million people each year. More than five million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while more than 600 000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. Unless urgent action is taken, the annual death toll could rise to more than eight million by 2030.
  • Nearly 80% of the world's one billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.