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
Shri Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, Member of Parliament (MP) from Kendrapara constituency in Odisha has recently introduced a Private Members’ Bill seeking ‘Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products’ in India. 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) to lend support to the bill. Shri Panda briefed media and various stakeholders about the submission of his Private Members’ Bill . The Bill garnered support from various other MPs including Shri D. Raja, Smt. Supriya Sule and Shri Ajay Kumar 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.
Plain packaging restricts tobacco industry logos, brand imagery, colours and promotional text appearing on packages, thus eliminating the “badge value” of all forms of tobacco product packaging. Brand and product names are allowed only in a standard colour, position, font style and size in a pre-defined area on the package. Surveys conducted by independent researchers suggest that making tobacco packets drab and unattractive deters young adults and reduces initiation into tobacco use.
The Government of Australia took a momentous step forward by stipulating plain packaging of tobacco products in the country from December 1, 2012 . With this, Australia has become the first country in the world to have brought in plain packaging of tobacco products.
Quotes from noted MPs and other dignitaries:
Shri D. Raja, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha said “There is an urgent need to protect Indians especially youth from the perils of tobacco use. The tobacco control law needs to be strictly enforced across the country to protect non-smokers from the dangerous impact of secondhand smoke”.
“Smt. Supriya Sule, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, emphasized on the need of creating awareness among the young generation about the hazards of tobacco use to prevent its initiation. She communicated that Plain Packaging will help in protecting this young population”. “Celebrity support to the issue will also help create awareness and draw attention among masses” stated Smt. Sule.
Dr. Ajay Kumar, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha said “This is indeed a great step taken towards protecting people of India from tobacco use. We stand by Mr. Panda’s initiative on Plain packaging of tobacco products and will support the bill in Parliament”. “Dr. Kumar pointed out on the need to create alternative livelihood options for tobacco farmers to help them shift to other equally remunerative crops”.
“WHO fully supports the bill and appreciates this important step aimed at introducing Plain Packaging of tobacco product packages in India as a strong tobacco control measure” said Dr. Nata Menabde, WHO representative to India.
Kite flying is popular hobby in many parts of India for people of different age groups, especially children. In fact, flying vibrant and colourful kites on important occasions like Independence Day or Harvest Festival (sankranti) is nothing less than customary. The state of Gujarat embraces the tradition of kite flying on a grand scale by hosting Uttarayan – an international kite flying festival during on January 14th every year, to welcome the harvest season. Kites of all shapes, themes and sizes are seen lacing the skyline across the state.