GUWAHATI, May 31 – Tobacco use is the biggest cause of death, disease and disability worldwide. The death clock of tobacco strikes every six seconds globally, killing 10 lakh Indians every year.
This year, the theme for World No Tobacco Day is ‘Ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.’
‘The Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) India 2009-10’ released by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) reveals that about 39.3 per cent population of Assam is using tobacco product in one or the other of its form. Assam has 8.8 per cent cigarette smokers, 5.3 per cent bidi smokers and 32.7 per cent users of smokeless tobacco.
A population of 23.8 per cent in Assam is influenced by the advertisement for cigarettes, 21.5 per cent for bidi and 25.2 per cent for chewing tobacco.
Voluntary Health Association of Assam in collaboration with VHAI, New Delhi, undertook a one-week comprehensive sensitization, monitoring and enforcement drive to curb promotion and advertisement of tobacco use in the capital city of Guwahati. This covered all provisions of COTPA Section 5, including tracking violations at Point of Sale (number and size of boards, promotional messages on boards print/in-pack, backlit boards with strong promotional visuals etc.), outdoor surrogate advertising, advertising on the internet and depiction of tobacco use in films (non-compliance to the current law which regulates depiction of tobacco use in films).
Banning tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship is one of the best ways to protect young people from starting smoking as well as reducing tobacco consumption across the entire population, said Ruchira Neog, executive secretary, VHA, Assam.