This Tuesday we observe World No Tobacco Day. In the grand scope of things, one day per year of abstaining from tobacco may not seem like a huge feat. However, this day of abstinence is symbolic of something larger. Can I do it? Do I have the willpower? Am I doing this for the right reasons? Do I need more support? One day can give clarity to a person struggling with any addiction.
Every year on May 31st, the World Health Organization (WHO) encourages individuals across the globe to refrain from using tobacco products for 24 hours. WHO also uses this day to highlight health risks and advocate strategies that reduce tobacco consumption. WHO and many other health groups are working to restrict logos, colors, and other promotional information on packaging. Advertising agencies make billions of dollars by dressing up tobacco products so that they appear more alluring. The more attractive a product is, the more consumers will invest in the product.
This tactic is used on other addictive substances as well. Though they are not commercially advertised, illicit substances are marketed on some level as well. Cocaine is linked to partying, wealth, and fame. Forms of “speed” are associated with energy and intense sensations. Hallucinogens are known for inspiring creativity and personal epiphanies. These drugs won’t appear on celebrity-endorsed billboards and you will not find them extravagantly displayed in brightly lit stores – but they are still endorsed through other outlets. Media and pop culture promote drug use with glamour just like tobacco agencies promote products with colors and logos. Addiction itself has the same disguise. Addiction offers an escape, a boost in mood and energy. However, individuals find that they lose control and are unable to stop. This is where the importance of just one day can have a profound impact.
This one day of abstinence represents a starting point and serves as a reminder to take one day at a time. I will leave you with a quote that always crosses my mind when discussing recovery.
“Minutes turn into hours
that add up to days
amounting to weeks
that become months
melting into years
accumulating for decades
to pile up for centuries
and ultimately form minutes again―
just on a grander, divine scale.”
-Brina “bj” Cash, MA, LPC-I, CART
For Cease Addiction Now, Inc.