World No Tobacco Day: ADRA Fights to End Tobacco Use

SILVER SPRING, Md. – SILVER SPRING, Md. – On May 31 the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is joining the World Health Organization (WHO) in the annual World No Tobacco Day, an initiative created by the WHO to raise awareness of the dangers of tobacco use, and expose the tactics used by the tobacco industry to lure consumers to use their products.

This year, ADRA’s World No Tobacco Day campaign is titled, “Innocent in Appearance. Deadly in Effect,” and resonates with the WHO’s efforts to reveal the dangerous health risks related to tobacco use. According to the WHO, tobacco use is one of the leading preventable causes of death, and is responsible for approximately 6 million deaths among people each year. Of those 6 million deaths, more than 600 thousand are non-tobacco users, such as persons exposed to second-hand smoke.

In Cambodia, ADRA is working towards reducing the health and economic impact of tobacco use through an initiative called “Tobacco or Health.” By collaborating with local government departments, military personnel, religious leaders, and youth, ADRA has made gains towards raising awareness on the harmful effects of tobacco use, and is working towards implementing tobacco prevention strategies and policies.

“Our team [ADRA Cambodia] is in a program stage where we are focusing on rural community behavior change. We are also linked to the national legal regulatory aspect of tobacco control, and have been working on monitoring the enforcement of two current national regulations – the requirement of health warning labels and prohibition of tobacco advertising,” said Mark Schwisow, Country Director for ADRA Cambodia. “A third regulation on the Smoke Free Public Environments campaign is currently being drafted and considered by the government, as well as further considerations on the comprehensive tobacco control law.”

In addition to its involvement with tobacco regulation and policies, ADRA Cambodia is running a five-day cessation program called, “Khmer Quit Now!” To date, more than 7,000 people have joined the program and have successfully quit smoking.

“ADRA Cambodia’s Tobacco or Health program has been committed since the mid 1990’s to ensuring that all people in Cambodia can both stop smoking as well as maintain a safe and secure environment – free from tobacco smoke,” Schwisow added. We want to do our part so that the people of Cambodia can remain protected from the dangers of tobacco industry influence, which promotes this destructive habit.”