Every year on May 31, World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners mark World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), to spotlight the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocate for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death globally and is currently responsible for killing nearly 6 million people each year. Tobacco addiction is a global issue. World No Tobacco Day brings light to the serious health risks of tobacco, not just in Montana, but around the world. Nearly 80 percent of the world’s 1 billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries (WHO, 2017)

World No Tobacco Day is all about people, of all walks of life, coming together to help each other get healthy and stop the global tobacco epidemic. Local activities in Missoula will include an End of Year BBQ scheduled for Friday, June 2, from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., at McCormick Park in collaboration with Missoula County Public Schools Indian Education for All Department and Missoula Urban Indian Health Center.

Members of the public can gather at the BBQ and join the WNTD awareness-raising campaign which will highlight the threats that the tobacco industry poses to the sustainable development of all countries, including the economic well-being of our citizens, and demonstrate how we can contribute as individuals to a commercial tobacco-free world, either by committing to never using tobacco products or by quitting the habit.

If you do use tobacco products and want to quit, call the Montana Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) or our new American Indian Commercial Tobacco Quit Line at 1-855-3720037. It is a free telephone-based service where you will receive expert counseling from trained tobacco addiction specialists. You can also receive free nicotine patches, gum or lozenges, and could be eligible for discounted tobacco cessation medication.

Dana Kingfisher is the tobacco prevention specialist for the Missoula Urban Indian Health Center.