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Make everyday World No Tobacco Day

PC: World Health Organisation.
PC: World Health Organisation.

Tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure are major causes of cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and stroke, contributing to approximately 3 million deaths per year. But evidence reveals a serious lack of knowledge of the multiple health risks associated with tobacco.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco use has declined markedly since 2000. But the reduction is insufficient to meet globally agreed targets aimed at protecting people from death and suffering from cardiovascular and other Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) is observed around the world every year on 31st May. Philip Morris International (PMI) marks this day with a call to recognize this day as ‘World No Smoking Day’. PMI is publishing informational advertisements highlighting that people who smoke deserve the opportunity to learn about smoke-free alternatives to cigarettes.

India is among the top 10 countries and accounts for two-third of the world's smokers (63.6%) in 2015. In India, Government estimates show over 5,500 youth start tobacco use every day, whereas around 35% of adults consume tobacco in some form or other. Over 25% of females start tobacco use before the age of 15 in the country.

Ahead of this day, Nicotex, one of the leading brands in Smoking Cessation category recently launched a new campaign ‘Ek Cigarette Kam’. As part of this campaign a new anthem titled ‘Hum me hain dum, roz ek cigarette kam’ has been launched. This is the first time a smoking cessation brand has launched a multi lingual audio in India.

Rusan Pharma Ltd. one of the leading global pharmaceutical company specializing in the treatment of Addiction, has indigenously developed and manufactured India’s first 24 hour ‘Nicotine Transdermal Patch – 2baconil. The brand has made an association with Kings XI Punjab as their health partner to kick start an anti – tobacco/smoking campaign #MyWill2baconil, to spread awareness and educate people about 2baconil as a solution to help quit tobacco.

On this day, state government renewed its promise to make Maharashtra tobacco-free. the Maharashtra government joined hands with NGO Salaam Mumbai Foundation to organise a three-day event at Mantralaya that encompassed different activities – each one taking another step forward in making the state of Maharashtra tobacco-free. The event that began on May 29 with a public exhibition, covered pictures and photographs from projects led by the NGO in conjunction with the state government. Posters spoke of the ills of tobacco and interactive games and activities formed a part of the display.

The government has also shown praiseworthy commitment in taking strict action against the violators of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA). The event saw a major move in the direction when a toll-free helpline was launched to report any kind of violations of the Act. Dr. Pallavi Darade, FDA Commissioner launched the toll-free number on May 30 in Mantralaya. The general public has been appealed to call thenumber 1800222365 in order to report any kind of COTPA violations that come to their notice. Maharashtra has also become the first state to implement the Centre’s directive to ban the sale of tobacco and FMCG goods under one roof. It has also banned the sale of gutkha and cigarettes within 100 yards of educational institutions.

While the Global Adult Tobacco Survey Maharashtra released in December last year showed that there is a decline in tobacco use in the last seven years, its usage in the 15-17 age group has increased from 2.9 per cent in 2010 to 5.5 per cent in 2017. The mean age of initiation into tobacco use in Maharashtra has also decreased from 18.5 years to 17.4 years, indicating youth are starting tobacco use earlier. In the wake of such alarming statistics, the government’s initiative to work alongside NGOs and private organisations to change this situation is a timely move and it has received accolades for its efforts.

Tshering Bhutia, General Manager, Salaam Bombay Foundation, said, “The Maharashtra government has been taking praiseworthy steps towards making the state tobacco-free. From creating awareness among young children in school to ensuring that schools in the state themselves become tobacco-free, the state government is committed to its efforts to create a tobacco-free state. This year, on World No Tobacco Day, this event was arranged on the premises of Mantralaya, the seat of the state government and with a public notice officially declaring it a tobacco-free workplace. The initiative to keep our state tobacco-free will definitely gain momentum when we have government’s support in all our endeavours.”

World over celebrities have a great influence on people. Famous celebrities like Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Barack Obama and Jennifer Anniston who has given up on this habit spreads awareness to people. 94.3 MY FM radio station, one of India’s popular radio channels, celebrates this day by asking people to pledge and say ‘I quit tobacco’.

On the other hand, Ashok Leyland’s latest initiative on ‘No to Tobacco’ educates its drivers with technical knowledge and highlights the importance of healthy habits in daily life, one of which being saying ‘No to Tobacco’. The video, very creatively & subtly takes the help of Ashok Leyland Drivers to bring forth the perception that we have, and how Ashok Leyland is breaking those perceptions.

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