Health Ministry to accelerate tobacco control measures

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in partnership with World Health Organization, India, today organized a National Consultation on‘Tobacco and Lung Health’ to commemorate the World No Tobacco Day 2019. Inaugurating the function, Ms. Preeti Sudan, Secretary (HFW) highlighted the theme of the World No Tobacco Day 2019, the risks associated with tobacco use on people’s lung health, from cancer to chronic respiratory disease. She stated that it is important to build a framework that is long term, effective and based on data and evidence. At the function, Dr. V. K. Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog administered the Anti-tobacco pledge to the participants.

Shri Sanjeeva Kumar, Additional Secretary, MoHFW, Shri Vikas Sheel, Joint Secretary, MoHFW and Dr Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative to India, were also present at the occasion.

Addressing the participants, Ms. Preeti Sudan, Secretary (HFW) emphasized on the need for community engagement and said that it’s important that people and the families learn how smoking affects the quality of life. She further said that without community engagement we can’t succeed. She said that India has consciously taken up the crusade against Tobacco. The government has now interventions to address heath conditions arising due to tobacco use.

Speaking at the function, Dr. V. K. Paul, Member, NITI Aayog gave a clarion call for a ‘Jan Andolan’ to address the menace of Tobacco use in all forms. He said this requires behavior change. He further added that there is an urgent need for creating opportunities for quitting tobacco by developing a network of thousands of points where people can go and seek help to quit tobacco.

Dr. Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative to India said, “the World No Tobacco Day presents a unique opportunity for all stakeholders to focus on multi-pronged strategies to combat tobacco use. Tobacco control is everybody’s responsibility. Governments, communities, families and individuals must join hands to stay united in the fight against tobacco by choosing health and saying no to all traditional and new forms of tobacco.”

The Health Ministry also felicitated Department of Medical, Health and Family Welfare, Government of Rajasthan and Prof. Raj Kumar, Director, V. P. Chest Institute, University of Delhi with ‘World No Tobacco Day Award for 2019’ for their exemplary accomplishments in the area of tobacco control.

At the event, the Health Ministry also released Guidelines for Tobacco Free Educational Institutions. The guidelines have been revised to provide a fresh momentum to implementation of tobacco control initiatives among adolescents and young adults. A National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) Website was also launched. The website will house all the tobacco control related resource material at a single portal. This will cater to the ever growing demand for resource material. Apart from this, a public awareness campaign material on TB-tobacco control was also released. This material is designed to create awareness and shall also be used in the social media.

The Ministry also released Operational Guidelines for National Tobacco Testing Laboratories. The Ministry has commissioned three National Tobacco Testing Laboratories (NTTL) which possess world class facilities to analyze various kinds of tobacco products.  The guidelines provide the operational framework for the NTTL in India.