The Courier

Every year, the World Health Organization (WHO) hosts an awareness day to inform the public of the harmful effects of tobacco use, as well as how tobacco companies target their consumers, and how people can fight back for their health. World No Tobacco Day is held annually on 31 May and this year’s theme is “Commit to Quit”. WHO has decided to run this campaign for the entirety of 2021, in order to empower 100 million tobacco users to make a quit attempt.

The tobacco plant naturally contains 2,500 chemicals, including nicotine, which is responsible for addiction to tobacco products and nicotine-containing vaping liquid. When tobacco is burned, it releases over 7,000 chemicals, including more than 70 that are carcinogens, or cancer-causing. Some of these toxic chemicals include tar, hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and benzene. Tobacco use is harmful to our heath, and exposure to smoke, both by the smoker and those around them, can cause cancer, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular illness, and premature death, although this is not an exhaustive list of adverse health effects. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death, not only in Canada, but also globally.

WHO has published more than 100 reasons to quit tobacco on its campaign website. We’re not going to list them all here, although we will be highlighting 30 reasons on our Instagram (@4winghealthpromotion) story on 31 May. Smokers experience benefits of quitting smoking within 20 minutes of their last cigarette, when their heart rate decreases, and within 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in their blood drops to normal. Quitting tobacco also increases your life expectancy, reduces the affects on those around you, including your children, and increases the size of your wallet by eliminating spending on tobacco products.

We want to help support you with your pledge to quit or reduce use. We have a behavioural intervention program called Quit It, that helps all tobacco users and vapers work through the quitting process. If you aren’t looking to quit completely yet but would like to reduce your use, we can meet you where you’re at. The program is free and available to the entire 4 Wing Defence Team including military members, their families and civilian personnel. If you would like to learn more about the program to see if it’s a good fit for you, contact


  • Health Canada. (2019 Jan). Tobacco: Behind the smoke.
  • World Health Organization. (2021). World No Tobacco Day 2021: 31 May.
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