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Press Room

World No Tobacco Day Marked with New Counter-Marketing and Advertising Campaigns

Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”

(New York) – On World No Tobacco Day, World Lung Foundation is partnering with government health ministries in China and India to launch new tobacco counter‐marketing campaigns in those countries, where the largest populations of smokers in the world reside. WLF also completed an online video for the World Health Organization, which will be disseminated globally.

In Tianjin, China, WLF is launching a campaign called ‘I Participate In Smoke Free Places' with a large outdoor event that will be attended by thousands of citizens, senior government officials such as the Vice‐Mayor of Tianjin, representatives from the Tianjin Spiritual Civilization Office, Tianjin Municipal Health Bureau, and local media. Special exhibition panels and a selection of tobacco control ads will warn against the harms of second‐hand smoke.

In Yunnan province, WLF and Yunnan Health Education Institute are launching a campaign with two TV and mobile media ads and 30,000 posters that graphically depict the personal harms of smoking. A TV ad called ‘Giving Cigarettes Is Giving Harm,' which addresses the cultural behavior of giving cigarettes as gifts, an ad called ‘Sponge, which graphically depicts how human lungs absorb cigarette tar, will air on regional TV. Print and mobile versions of ‘Sponge' will be shown on posters and LED screens on local buses

WLF is also working with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the World Health Organization in India on the launch of a national TV and radio advertising campaign using the ‘Sponge' concept. Versions of the ad will air in five languages: English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati and Tamil. In New Delhi, WLF is organizing a petition campaign and a citizen march in partnership with Beopar Mandal, Karol Bagh and the Delhi Hotels and Restaurants Association. The march will culminate in a street performance that depicts the harmful effects of tobacco.

In Russia, WLF will be presenting on mass media strategies at the 2nd All Russian Forum “Health or Tobacco” in Moscow and the 5th All Russian Conference “Doctors against Tobacco” in Yaroslavl. WLF has been running regional campaigns in Samara, Krasnoyarsk and Chuvashia this month.

WLF also developed an online video for the World Health Organization that counters the tobacco industry's assertion that cigarettes are cool. The video, called ‘Show Truth,' advocates for warnings on cigarette packs that use graphic images to show the harms of smoking. This year's theme for World No Tobacco Day is ‘Tobacco Health Warnings.'

“World No Tobacco Day is a moment to highlight the global tobacco epidemic to policy makers, the health community and citizens around the world,” said Peter Baldini, Chief Executive Officer, World Lung Foundation. “WLF emphasizes such communication through strong, visceral images that show what tobacco really does to people.”

Tobacco use is the leading preventable agent of death in the world today, and is responsible for more than five million deaths each year – one in ten adults worldwide. Within 25 years the death toll from tobacco will climb to more than eight million people per year, and it is estimated that half of all people who smoke today will eventually be killed by the direct or indirect effects of tobacco.