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World No Alcohol Day

In 2008, at a meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA)—the decision making body of the World Health Organization (WHO)—in Geneva, Switzerland, a proposal was made by India for a global alcohol-free day to take place on Gandhi's birthday. The proposal was made by Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss, India's Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare. He said the purpose of the day was to draw attention to the health risks of the abuse of alcohol. The proposal was supported by 11 Southeast Asian countries.

The proposal came as part of a larger effort by the WHO to reduce alcohol-related problems. All member states—193 at the time—signed a resolution calling for a global strategy to address the issue to be developed over the next two years. It does not appear that World No Alcohol Day was officially adopted, but it has been observed by many, including the International Council of Nurses. Also, in May 2010, a global strategy (WHA63.13) was adopted by the WHA. It focused on ten areas for national action and four priority areas for global action.

How to Observe World No Alcohol Day

Observe the day by learning about the harmful effects of alcohol and raising awareness about these effects. According to the World Health Organization, there are 2.5 million alcohol-related deaths each year, and of these, 320,000 are of people between the ages of 15 and 29. The WHO has also said alcohol is the third leading cause of poor health around the world. Perhaps you could support groups that help people with alcohol addiction. If you want to celebrate the day in a more lighthearted manner, you could drink some alcohol-free cocktails (mocktails).

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