It is estimated that more than 10,00,000 people die each year due to tobacco use in India
world over 60,00,000 people die annually due to tobacco use
Adults in India are substantially more likely to abstain from smoking at home if they are prohibited from smoking at work, a new study has found. According to data from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey India, 2009/2010, 64 per cent of adults who work in smokefree environments live in a smokefree home, compared with 42 per cent of those who work where smoking is permitted. The proportion of smokefree homes is higher in states with higher proportions of smokefree workplaces.
The authors of the study, from Imperial College London and the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), say the findings suggest that the implementation of smokefree legislation in India may have resulted in substantial health benefits for the population, particularly for women and children.
“This study suggests that, in India, there is good evidence that smokefree laws in workplaces are associated with a reduction in second-hand smoke at home,” said John Tayu Lee, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, who led the study. “The results support the idea of ‘norm spreading’, whereby restrictions on smoking in public places make it seem less acceptable to expose others to second-hand smoke more generally, including at home,” said Dr Christopher Millett, from the School of Public Health at Imperial. “They highlight the importance of accelerating the implementation of smokefree legislation more widely in India.” Dr Millett is also a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at PHFI .
HRIDAY commends Government of Thailand for bringing world’s largest graphic health warnings on tobacco products
New Delhi: HRIDAY (Health Related Information Dissemination Amongst Youth) has sent a letter to the Thai Minister of Public Health, Dr. Pradith Sinthawanarong commending his firm commitment to strengthen health warning on cigarette packs in Thailand (copy of letter enclosed). Cigarette packets in Thailand will now bear 85% graphic health warnings from the current 55% of the principle display area. Increased size of pictorial warnings from 55% to 85% will help create greater awareness of the harms of smoking, reduce smoking, enhance public health and in the long run save government budget on health care cost.
Although India has introduced picture-based warnings on tobacco packages, the warning covers only 40 percent of the front panel of the principal display areas and none on the back. In a recently released report (copy enclosed), India is ranked 123rd in a list of 198 countries surveyed on warning size and fulfillment of requirements for picture-based warnings on cigarette packages. The report ranks 198 countries and territories on the size of their health warnings on cigarette packages . A number of developing countries like Maldives, Pakistan and Bangladesh are placed higher than India in these rankings. India was ranked 100th in the 2010 edition of same report prepared by Canadian Cancer Society in collaboration with the Framework Convention Alliance.. Since then, many countries like Australia have worked towards strong pictorial warnings in reducing tobacco related mortality and morbidity across the globe.
“Large, strong and effective pictorial warnings help tobacco users to visualize the nature of tobacco related diseases and convey the health messages in an unambiguous manner. Such warnings are also more likely to reach the youth and those with little or no education, who are the most vulnerable sections of the society to initiate tobacco use. Considering that Australia has adopted plain packaging of tobacco products, even the pictorial health warnings are 80% both sides in Sri Lanka and Uruguay, 75% in Canada and now 85% in Thailand; it is high time that India increases the size of the pictorial warnings from current 40% on one side to at least 50% on both sides as stipulated under the WHO’s Framework convention on Tobacco Control.” said Mr. Amit Yadav, Manager-Legal, HRIDAY
Lok Sabha Member Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda introduces a Private Members’ Bill seeking Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products in India
New Delhi: A high profile press conference cum consultation was jointly organised by Member of Parliament Shri Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and HRIDAY (Health Related Information Dissemination Amongst Youth) today. Shri Panda briefed media and various stakeholders about the submission of his Private Members’ Bill in Parliament seeking ‘Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products’ in India by making amendments to the current Indian tobacco control law, The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003. A copy of his Bill is enclosed with this release.
The Bill has garnered support from various other MPs present at the event. Dr. Nata Menabde, Representative for WHO Country Office in India also attended the event and shared WHO’s perspective on plain packaging of tobacco products. Prof. K. Srinath Reddy, President, PHFI and Dr. Monika Arora, Director, Tobacco Control and Health Promotion, PHFI and Senior Director, HRIDAY also expressed their views on the issue.
In a desperate and unlawful attempt to get the recent bans on manufacturing, storage, distribution and sale of Gutkha and other chewing products containing tobacco or nicotine revoked, the smokeless tobacco industry has sponsored misleading advertisements in leading newspapers across the country questioning the policy on smokeless tobacco ban. The advertisements released in the joint ownership of the Central Arecanut and Cocoa Marketing and Processing Co-operation Ltd., Smokeless Tobacco association and All India Kattha Factories Association bring incorrect information in order to create confusion among the public and the enforcement agencies in the states that are planning for the implementation of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s (FSSAI) notification. Such a deceptive strategy is the final resort of Indian Gutka industry who had suffered a huge loss due to the progressive implementation of FSSAI notification and its new rules and regulations.
Sixteen Indian States have declared a ban on Gutkha and other tobacco products. Being one of the highest tobacco producing states, Government of Gujarat has already declared the ban and seriously implementing on the order. Government of Andhra Pradesh should consider for a ban at the earliest to prevent lives of its people being killed by tobacco. Many civil society organizations and activists requested the State Government to take a suitable policy decision and issue an order immediately in a meeting organized by Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH), Hyderabad today. Senior officials of the Government of Andhra Pradesh, public health experts and activists also deliberated on challenges and effective measures for implementing the provisions of the tobacco control law (COTPA) along with building capacity of various Govt. Departments and other stakeholders. The aim was also to provide a platform for a multi-stakeholder approach by bringing together government and civil society organizations for community participation and action to realize the dream of a “Tobacco-free and Healthy Andhra Pradesh”.
The ban on Gutkha is all set for better implementation in the state of Gujarat. Following the Chief Minister’s announcement of the ban on August 15, 2012, the Government machinery is on full swing to enforce the order effectively. Organized jointly by the Government of Gujarat (GoG) in collaboration with Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH), Gandhinagar today, senior officials of the state Government, academic institutions, civil society organizations and media deliberated on challenges and effective measures for implementing the ban and other provisions of the tobacco control law (COTPA) along with building partnerships with various Government Departments and other stakeholders. The aim was also to provide a platform for a multi-stakeholder approach by bringing together government and civil society organizations for community participation and action to realize the dream of a “Tobacco-free and Healthy Gujarat”.
The Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) welcomes the decision of the Government of Gujarat to ban Gutka from September 11, 2012 which was announced today in Junagadh by the Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Narendra Modi “to rescue the youths of Gujarat from dangerous disease of Cancer.” This announcement comes as a timely gift for a healthy life of the people of Gujarat, on the occasion of Independence Day, today. The decision comes after a concerted effort from the Department of Health, Government of Gujarat that played a crucial role in emphasizing the colossal burden of tobacco use in the state, especially smokeless tobacco, and getting the support for implementation of this important provision under the Food Safety and Standards Regulation of 2011. With active support and commitment, the ban will be notified soon by the Gujarat Food and Drug Control Administration.
The fair and festivities of Janmastami is all set to bring a new color among the people of Rajkot. The five day Jamnastami fair has been declared smoke-free. Thousands of people attending the Mela are here in Rajkot are breathing air free of smoke and the youth volunteers dressed in Krishna avatars are motivating them to quit the tobacco habit distributing leaflets and other awareness materials.
According to the District Dy. Collector Shri G. M. Dixit, “The administration of Rajkot has been implementing the tobacco control law (COTPA) with full spirit. With hundreds of thousands of people gathering for Janmastami fair in Rajkot, we have decided to make the fair tobacco-free as no shops will be allowed selling any tobacco product at the place (Race Course Maidan) during the five days celebration. This will be a step towards declaring the district of Rajkot smoke-free. There will be no smoking inside the Mela and selling of tobacco products to and by minors will strictly be prohibited. There will be strict monitoring of the implementation and those violating the law will be penalized. We want to give our people the gift of good and divine health to commemorate Janmastami this year.”
The Australia-India Institute (AII) Taskforce on Tobacco Control set up to examine the feasibility of plain packaging of tobacco products in the Indian context released a policy document titled ‘The Case for Plain Packaging Made Plain - From Australia to the Indian People: Assessing the Socio-Political Scenario of Introducing Plain Packaging as a Policy Intervention’. Plain packaging legislation seeks to remove extraneous colours, embossing and misleading elements on tobacco packs, thus eliminating the “badge value” of all forms of tobacco product packaging. Brand and product names can be used in a standardised, prescribed style, font and colour.
Ahmedabad: Five district magistrates in the state of Gujarat have issued orders to intensify raids and issue challans to the shopkeepers selling cigarettes, bidi, mawa, khaini, gutkha and other tobacco products without displaying pictorial warning board which mandates prohibition of sale to minors at the point of sale, violating Section 6(a) India’s Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, (COTPA), 2003.
The District Magistrate and Collectors of Kheda, Bansakantha, Rajkot, Surat and Tapi have issued orders under Section 6, which prohibits minor’s access to tobacco products. The law mandates that owners or those in charge of point of sale outlets selling tobacco products should prominently display a board of 60cm x 30 cm specifying the warning. The point of sale for tobacco includes any outlet whether Pan shops, kiosks or grocery stores selling any tobacco product. The Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) recently launched an extensive advocacy effort with senior health officials at the state level and the Collectors and District Magistrates of Banaskantha, Kheda, Rajkot, Surat and Tapi to issue Government orders pertaining to strict implementation of Section 6(a). It paid rich dividends as all state and district level officials supported this effort by issuing directives at the local level. The awareness drive will also be supplemented with raids by joint Taskforces of health, police and other department officials by issuing challans to the violators. This was undertaken as a part of the project STEPS (Strengthening of Tobacco Control Efforts Through Innovative Partnerships and Strategies) being implemented by the PHFI in partnership with Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar (IIPH-G) and local NGO partners in the districts.