Accelerating tobacco control measures

Inaugurating a national consultation to commemorate the World No Tobacco Day 2018, Mr Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Government of India made a strong call for accelerating tobacco control measures for achievement of the goals under National Health Policy, 2017.

The consultation, jointly organized by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) and WHO Country Office for India on 6-7 June 2018, focused attention on the theme of the World No Tobacco Day 2018, the link between tobacco and cardiovascular diseases (CVD).

Mr Choubey observed that tobacco use is a leading cause of premature, NCD-associated mortality and morbidity, and a growing public health challenge. He further said that while many people are aware that tobacco use increases the risk of cancer, there are alarming gaps in knowledge of the cardiovascular risks of tobacco use. In India, more than half of adults do not know smoking can cause stroke.

Speaking at the consultation, Ms Anupriya Patel, Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare urged the need to be alert to the threat of new and emerging products and to act swiftly and firmly against them. “We can win the battle only through synergy of our efforts, both within and beyond country,” she said.

On the occasion, the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2 India Report and guidelines for establishing tobacco cessation centres in dental colleges at the consultation were released. In addition, a national mass media campaign encouraging smokers to quit tobacco use was launched.

Mr Choubey and Ms Patel also felicitated tobacco workers who have transitioned to other livelihood options.

A key component of the consultation was capacity-building of the National Tobacco Control Progamme Nodal Officers with special focus on multisectoral engagement for implementation of WHO FCTC in India and synergizing tobacco control with new health initiatives.

The consultation was also graced by Ms Preeti Sudan, Secretary, Health & Family Welfare; Dr Promila Gupta, Director General Health Services; Mr Sanjeeva Kumar, Additional Secretary, MoHFW; Mr Vikas Sheel, Joint Secretary, MoHFW; Ms Payden, Acting WHO Representative to India; senior officials of the Health Ministry, development partners and all key stakeholders.