16 Jan : A two-day Regional Advocacy Workshop (Northern Region) on Tobacco Control Laws and related issues in India organized by the Department of Psychiatry, PGIMER, was formally inaugurated by the Chief Guest Hon’ble Governor of Haryana, Dr. A.R. Kidwai. Dr. Kidwai emphasized that mere enactment of laws in itself was not sufficient; legislation should be supplemented with dissemination of information, awareness and provision of tobacco cessation services to the masses.
Prof. laxmi Kanta Chawla and Dr. Rajiv Bindal, Health Minsiters of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh respectively also addressed the gathering that included delegates from the seven northern states of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, New Delhi, Uttarakhand and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. Prof. Laxmi Kanta Chawla pointed towards the limitations in the government’s legislative policies and emphatically stressed upon the need to simultaneously ban the production and sale of tobacco and tobacco products together. Dr. Bindal narrated the health hazards of tobacco and committed to muster all resources required to prevent the use of tobacco by the masses specially the youth. A video showing the hazards of tobacco use was screened before and after the inaugural function. This was followed by lectures from distinguished delegates.
Dr. S.K. Jindal, Professor and Head, Department of Pulmonary medicine detailed about the adverse effects of tobacco on Health, socio-economic and environmental aspects. He informed about the diseases caused by tobacco use such as cancer, chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD), Myocardial infarction, stroke to name a few. Dr. Vinayak Prasad, Director, MoHFW, talked about the legislative measures taken by the Govt. of India including the “the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act 2003”, and strategies that are being considered to enforce it. He went into the details of highlighting the provisions of the law and informed about the ways and methods to implement it.
The NP-TFI WHO ( India ), Ms Vineet Gill, informed the audience about the various efforts that are being made by the World Health Organization in collaboration with Govt of India, under the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC) to which India is a signatory state. India has made significant advances in this direction. She also told about the policies and strategies that are being practiced in other countries of the world. Dr. Jagdish Kaur, CMO Directorate GHS provided an overview of the National Tobacco Control Program and emphasized the importance of integrated multio-sectorial approach in enhancing the efficacy of the program. Dr. Mira Aghi, communication Expert Advocacy Forum for Tobacco Control, spoke on the association between Tuberculosis and tobacco. She focused on how the triad of information, education and communication (IEC) strategies used for tobacco control can also impact control of tuberculosis.
The Consultant (Research), The Union S-E Asia, Mr. Pranay Lal briefed about the Bloomberg Global Initiative and grant mechanism. The last session focused on sharing of the experiences of the best practices and success stories of tobacco control in various settings and places.