23 Sep : A two day State Level Advocacy workshop on National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) for law enforcement agencies and NGOs got underway today at DUDA guest Kohima. The workshop is organised by the Directorate of Health and Family Welfare (H&FW) Nagaland in collaboration with Advocacy Forum for Tobacco Control (AFTC) New Delhi and Supported by National Rural Health Mission and National Cancer Control Programme Nagaland.
The inaugural function began with the Additional Chief Secretary, Lalthara IAS as the chief guest. In his address Lalthara stressed on the importance of educating the masses about the ill effects of tobacco use in its various form, calling for a more concerted effort from all section of the people including the Government agencies so as to create awareness on the ill – effects of tobacco usages. Citing an example from his personal experience he said that as a young man he also tasted cigarette but he never did liked it and as a non-user of tobacco with courage and conviction he said that firstly he did not like tobacco at all and secondly that tobacco is bad for health.
Lalthara also stated that tobacco causes so much death that it is one of the largest single factor for premature death which is more invasive and dangerous that alcohol. Inspite of much publicity, it is killing more than AIDS and developing at an alarming rate. He also admitted that much more has to be done by the Government and there is need for more fund for tobacco control. Young people who are yet to pick the habit has to be made aware and sensitized, he said. On the high rate of tobacco usage in the state, he warned the elderly people by saying that they should lead by example to the younger generation. If a teacher is not healthy, he cannot expect a healthy student likewise if an engineer is not healthy than the road condition will also be bad.
Lalthara expressed his displeasure on the popular usage of sports personalities in advertising of tobacco products. Terming it as very sad, he called upon the mass media to play an active and positive role in creating awareness and called for stringent measures against smoking in public places and causing injury to life. As a bureaucrat he also assured to give his fullest co-operation for tobacco control in the state.
Earlier Director H&FW, Dr. Kumuni Kathipri gave an introduction on tobacco control in Nagaland. She said that today in Nagaland tobacco consumption has become socially acceptable and therefore to control the menace is not an easy task. Nevertheless we can set a target and work on it, she added. In N.E. India about 60% of the population uses tobacco which is very alarming and oral cancer has become very common in the region causing vast deaths. Dr. Kumuni also expressed hope that smoking in public places will be banned by 2nd October 2008 as per the provision laid under Section 4 Tobacco Prevention Act 2006.
The function was chaired by Commissioner & Secretary H&FW, Menukhol John, while vote of thanks was proposed by Director H&FW, Dr. T.L. Nakhro. The programme was also attended by resource persons from ASTC/Riday Delhi D.P. Singh and Khanna, besides government officials from various departments and NGOs.