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Health Secretary – Community engagement is the key to address tobacco control

Union health ministry will accelerate tobacco control measures

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Preeti Sudan, Secretary,Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, organised a national consultation in partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO) on ‘Tobacco and Lung Health’, to commemorate the World No Tobacco Day 2019

Speaking on the occasion, Preeti Sudan, Secretary (HFW) highlighted the risks associated with tobacco use on people’s lung health, from cancer to chronic respiratory disease.

“ It is important to build a framework that is long term, effective and based on data and evidence. We need more community engagement and it’s important for people and the families to learn how smoking affects the quality of life. India has consciously taken up the crusade against tobacco. The government has now interventions to address heath conditions arising due to tobacco use,” she stated..

At the function, Dr V K Paul,Member (Health), NITI Aayog administering the anti-tobacco pledge to the participants, said,“ NITI Aayog gave a clarion call for a ‘Jan Andolan’ to address the menace of tobacco use in all forms. It requires behavior change and there is a 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 informed that 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,” he added.

Union 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.

Apart from it the ministry released operational guidelines for National Tobacco Testing Laboratories (NTTL). The Ministry has commissioned three NTTL which possess world class facilities to analyse various kinds of tobacco products. The guidelines provide the operational framework for the NTTL in India.

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