BBMP launches “Be Smart – Don’t Start”, a student volunteering program to educate the harms of tobacco use and smoke-free laws among high school and college students

Yogesh K Porwar & Avanth Kumar Kankariya

.BBMP, in association with Partnership for Healthy Cities,an initiative by Vital Strategies,with the intention to intensify its enforcement of tobacco

control laws,launched a campaign,“Be Smart – Don’t Start”, where it plans to engage students to help report violations of tobacco control laws,especially around education institutions.

Launching this initiative,Dr Thrilok Chandra K V,Special Commissioner Health,BBMP,said Our team is constantly enforcing the tobacco control laws,and there is a need to tackle repeat offenders,especially around educational institutions.

To address this issue,we have started this initiative where children can voluntarily register and get educated about the harms of tobacco and also tobacco control laws.

Dr Balasundar A.S.CHO BBMP,said “We believe that this initiative would engage students of BBMP and private education institution to raise awareness and also this gives an opportunity for the students who are interested in volunteering to interact with BBMP Health officials”Dr Kumar M V,Program officer Tobacco Control said,We will involve the health officials of all the eight BBMP zones to ensure that we can engage many students as possible.

Posters with the links to register will be displayed in the schools and colleges.

Interested students once registered,will be trained to report violations.We also intend to train selected students to become student counselors.

Dr Thriveni B S,Project Director,Partnership for Healthy Cities,said we are happy to collaborate with BBMP for this campaign and we hope this initiative will lead to a stronger association between education institutions and health department for effective reporting and enforcement of tobacco control laws through the involvement of students.

We observe many vendors are targeting students by violating some of the smoke-free laws around the education institutions which would be addressed by this campaign.