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World No Tobacco Day observed
 IMPHAL, May 31 - For the first time in Manipur, the Yellow Line Campaign has been launched to prevent sale of tobacco products near educational institutions as part of observance of the World No Tobacco Day here today.

On the occasion, State Health and Family Welfare Minister L Jayentakumar led top officials of the Health Department in painting a yellow line, 100 yards away from the boundary wall of CC Higher Secondary School to mark a tobacco-free zone.

The Yellow Line Campaign is aimed at making people aware of the ill effects of tobacco and its products, and preventing the young generation from getting addicted to these harmful substances.

Earlier, addressing a World No Tobacco Day function at the CC Higher Secondary School, the Health Minister appealed to the students to learn good habits. He also expressed concern over the danger posed by passive smoking to young children.

With 55 per cent of the adult population using different tobacco forms, Manipur is ranked third in tobacco consumption in India.

With the focus on ‘Tobacco and Lung Health’, reports of observing the World No Tobacco Day at different locations in the State to raise awareness about the tobacco risks also came in.

Shillong Staff Correspondent adds: Meghalaya has the highest incidence of oesophageal cancer in the country, according to a survey. Health experts speaking on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day on Friday said 80 per cent of oral cancer is attributed to tobacco use.

The Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2 (2016 -2017) highlighted that tobacco use and smoking is high in Meghalaya and the State ranks fifth with 47 per cent tobacco users and second with 31.6 per cent smokers in the NE region, District Nodal Medical Officer Robert Marak said.

“Twenty years ago, smoking was considered an additional element for personality development,” State Health and Family Welfare Secretary Pravin Bakshi said. He added smoking is no longer an impressive fashion statement as the youth are more aware of the ill effects of tobacco consumption.

Bakshi urged educational institutions should come forward to declare themselves as ‘tobacco-free zone areas’ to reduce tobacco use.

In the State, the National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP), National Health Mission, launched various schemes under the 12th Five Year Plan during 2013-14 to check tobacco use and smoking.

The State Government, along with the NTCP, has taken several initiatives in implementing these programmes. State-level and district-level coordination committees have been constituted, comprising stakeholders from different departments to take forward the NTCP initiatives.

Dimapur Correspondent adds: Nagaland is ranked seventh in the country in tobacco usage with 43.3 per cent of the State’s population using tobacco, according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2 conducted in 2016-17. This is a significant decline since the last GATS survey in 2009-10 where Nagaland was ranked second in the country with 56.8 per cent users.

The World No Tobacco Day was observed in different parts of the State on the theme, ‘Tobacco and Lung Health’, on Friday.

Addressing the programme at Kohima, Mission Director, National Health Mission, Nagaland, Dr Kevichüsa Medikhru, said the day is important for the State as the State ranks among one of the highest tobacco users in the country. He lauded the National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) team of the State for the achievements made so far in creating awareness on the harmful effects of tobacco in the State, where smokers were seen less at public places.

In the last few years, smoking has been on decline in Nagaland, but use of smokeless tobacco is on the rise. Currently, 13.2 per cent people of Nagaland are smokers, while 39 per cent use smokeless tobacco including gutkha, paan, khaini, etc., the survey said.

While the number of smokers in the State has been dwindling, date on passive or second-hand smoking are alarming. According to the survey, 68 per cent of people are exposed to passive smoking in their homes, 22 per cent of visitors at public places and 27 per cent at their workplaces, including government offices.

Dr C Tetseo, the Dimapur district nodal officer of the NTCP, said many smokers are not fully aware of the consequences of their habits.

Tetseo stressed that the prevalence rate of smoking must be brought down. He said the World No Tobacco Day, observed on May 31 under the banner of the World Health Organisation (WHO), is an opportunity to raise awareness about the deadly effects of tobacco use and discourage the use of tobacco in any form.

There are existing laws which ban smoking at public places, but they are not strictly enforced even in government offices, Tetseo said.

There is a need to increase the awareness and enforcement activities,” he said, calling for sustained awareness by the departments concerned, churches and NGOs.

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