Chandigarh, July 15:- Concerned over the increasing tendency among the students to take to tobacco products, the Central Board of School Education (CBSE), New Delhi, seems to have joined forces to nip the evil in the bud. It has issued specific guidelines to its regional heads to ensure “Tobacco Free Schools or Institutes” and directed them to disseminate these to all affiliated schools in their respective areas. Encapsuled in a circular, these make it mandatory on all heads to form ‘Tobacco Control Committee’ in schools/ institutes. The committee should comprise a science teacher or any other teacher, school counselor, if available, two NSS/NCC/Scout students, two representatives of parents, local MLA, SHO, municipal councilor/ PRIs. Its meetings will be chaired by the head of school.
The committee would meet every quarter, monitor all tobacco control initiatives taken by the school/ institute, and send a report to the district administration on the various initiatives taken by the school authorities in keeping with the guidelines.
Confirming this here today, Mr. D. R. Yadav, Regional Head, CBSE, said that the circular had been sent to all schools of the region affiliated to the CBSE. “The rationale behind the move is to ‘aware them young’. As the student community is more vulnerable and prone to this menace, we have decided to start this campaign to nip the evil in the bud”. Yadav added.
The other guidelines the circular contains include, fix a ‘tobacco free school’ board outside the main entrance of the school; ensure no sale of tobacco products inside the premises and within a radius of 100 yards from the school; and prohibition of smoking or chewing of tobacco inside the premise by students, teachers or any other member of the staff and visitors.
Besides, a copy of the anti-tobacco Act must be available with the head/ principal; anti-tobacco slogans should be promoted on the school stationery and the principal should take on record the tobacco control initiatives by students/teachers/staff members by issuing a certificate of appreciation or giving away awards. The guidelines also stress the need to integrate the tobacco control activities with the on-going school health scheme initiated by the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).
Dr Deepak Bakshi, State Nodal Officer, National Tobacco Control Programme, Chandigarh, said, “There is alarming prevalence of tobacco use among the students in India. As many as 36.9 per cent children take to smoking before the age of 10; 55.1 per cent boys and 32.1 per cent girls. Given this scenario, the CBSE jumping into the battle against tobacco is a welcome move. It will definitely give boost to the National Tobacco Control Programme.” Dr. Bakshi added. He plans to write to all heads of school and institutes in Chandigarh to implement these guidelines offering all kind of assistance to the schools in the war against tobacco.