Kangra declared as smoke free district

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CMO Kangra Dr. D.S. Gurung told that 60% of lung cancer is due to smoking in a workshop on ‘Tobacco Control’ held at DRDA hall Dharamshala. Tobacco affects every organ of the body and major complications include stroke, heart disease, bronchitis, gastritis, urinary bladder cancer, renal failure, peripheral vascular disease. The act aims to protect vulnerable teenagers and non-smokers from harmful effects of passive smoking,  he added.

Dr. J.S. Rana Technical Adviser of International Union against tobacco and lung disease, stated that his organization provides technical support to tobacco control.  Tobacco kills 54 lakh persons globally, out of which 11 lakh are killed in India, almost 3000 persons every day. Tobacco will eventually kill half users – 28 crores current users in India,  23 crores of whom are daily users. Dr. Rana shared good practice of Tamil Nadu where schools submit a memorandum of compliance with various items, including Sec 6 B of COTPA  (Cigarette and other Tobacco Products Act), Sale of tobacco products within 100 yards of the educational institution is prohibited.

There are 4000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, out of which more than 60 are known to cause cancer.  Children are highly vulnerable to effects of passive smoking. Chewable tobacco is highly harmful and contains over 25 cancer causing chemicals.

“Smoke free” means no smoking in indoor public places (all places to which public has access). Standard signage should be displayed of size 2 x 1 feet. Chandigarh was the first smoke free city in India in July 2007. All district HQ in HP were declared smoke free last year. Kangra becomes 50th jurisdiction to be declared smoke free. India ratified the global treaty on tobacco control “Framework Convention on Tobacco Control” in 2004. Tobacco control Programme was started in 2008 as pilot in 42 /640 district. COTPA was enacted in 2003. Section 4 prohibits smoking in public places. Section 5 prohibits advertisements, promotion and sponsorships – this is the theme of this year’s campaign.

Dr. Narender Sharma Executive Director, HP Voluntary Health Association shared about smoke free project and presented the compliance survey conducted by population research center – No evidence of smoking is 90%, no evidence of recent smoking is 86%, no evidence of bidi is 86%, No smoking singage were present in 54%. Average compliance was 80%. Urban 79%, Rural 81%. – The major challenge to ultimate target of tobacco free status is vested interests.

Mr. Rohan Chand Thakur ADC who presided over the meet directed the education department that compliance rate should be increased and signage be ensured. Hotel Association and HPTDC, restaurants, all head offices, DFSC be directed to increase compliance on signage. Food supply department was directed to direct civil supply inspector to create awareness along with challans. Bilaspur had achieved 92% compliance. He asked all that we should further improve and tell field staff to be proactive in this field.

Govt. health facilities have signage, but private health providers compliance need to be increased.  In clinical establishment and hospital empanelment, compliance with COTPA will be added, said by CMO Kangra.

Ramesh Mastana, director of NGO, told that we need to make it a mass movement, to make it successful and sustainable. Ramesh HPVHA stated that in lieu of 32 crore revenue of tobacco, there is 96 crore loss due to tobacco. Tobacco leaf bidi industry was being launched in Hamirpur, which was stopped due to advocacy and pressure.

Dr. Jitendra Saxena Medical Officer of Health presented the status of Kangra. He appealed to all to avoid indoor smoking in home for the health of the family. He deliberated on benefits of quitting.

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