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Tobacco Challenges in India: A scenario

Context

Global Adult Tobacco survey 2016-17 has observed that India has made massive gains on account of recent anti-tobacco measures.

  • Large, graphic pictorial warnings on tobacco products have a telling effect on consumer behavior resulting reduction in percentage of smokers.

About status of tobacco in India:

Tobacco use is a major cause of premature death in India. Nearly one million people die every in India due to tobacco use.

o  India is the second largest tobacco consumer.

o  Third largest tobacco produces in the world. Smokeless tobacco is the dominant form of tobacco used, regardless of the type of product used; it is a well-established scientific fact that tobacco use in any form affects health adversely.

o   In India, there are 275 million tobacco users – that means every third Indian adult uses some form of tobacco. It is the number one cause of preventable death.

o   Tobacco is responsible for nearly 50% cancers in India and 90% of mouth cancers.

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2016-17-

  • From 38% in 2009-10, the proportion of cigarette smokers in India who thought of quitting due to pictorial warnings increased sharply to nearly 62% in 2016-17. The increase among adults wanting to quit smokeless tobacco was also significant — 34% to 46% during the two periods.

                                       

 

About Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is the first international public health treaty negotiated under the auspices of WHO.

o   The WHO FCTC was developed in response to the globalization of the tobacco epidemic and is an evidence-based treaty that reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health.

o   The Convention represents a milestone for the promotion of public health and provides new legal dimensions for international health cooperation.

o    It is an evidence-based treaty that reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health.

Measures taken government to control Smoking and Tobacco Consumption

The Government has taken a series of measures to deter people from consuming tobacco products including the following:

o   The Ministry of Health imposed an 85% pictorial warning on tobacco packets. A significantly higher proportion of adults considered quitting because of the warnings on tobacco product

o   Enactment of the “Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, (COTPA) 2003”.

o    Ratification of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)

o   Launch of the National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) in the year 2007-08.

o   Issuance of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011 dated 1st August 2011, under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, which lays down that tobacco and nicotine shall not be used as ingredients in any food products.

o   Notification to regulate depiction of tobacco products or their use in films and TV programmes.

o   Public awareness campaigns through a variety of media.

o   Increase in the Central Excise Duty and decrease in the duty-free allowance of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

About National Tobacco Control Programme

The main components of the NTCP are :

National level

o   Public awareness/mass media campaigns for awareness building and behavior change.

o   Establishment of tobacco product testing laboratories, to build regulatory capacity, as mandated under COTPA, 2003.

o   Mainstreaming the program components as part of the health care delivery mechanism under the National Rural Health Mission framework.

o   Mainstream Research and Training on alternate crops and livelihoods in collaboration with other nodal Ministries.

o   Monitoring and Evaluation including surveillance e.g. Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) India.

State level

o   Tobacco control cells with dedicated manpower for effective implementation and monitoring of anti tobacco laws and initiatives.

District level

o   Training of health and social workers, SHGs, NGOs, school teachers etc.

o   Setting up tobacco cessation facilities.

o   Organizing School Programme.

o   Monitoring tobacco control laws.

Way forward

o   Public awareness Campaigns initiatives to raise the economic, social, and environmental impacts of tobacco use and its health consequences.

o   Mechanisms for monitoring and prohibiting tobacco advertising on the internet, including promotional emails, websites, blogs, and social media sites, should be imposed

o   Partnerships should be established with civil society groups to actively monitor, report, and penalise activities that violate tobacco control laws.

o   Tobacco-use outcomes could be improved by school/community-based and adult education interventions

o   Reaching out to other stakeholders as partners is an essential component of the holistic approach to comprehensive tobacco control.

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