By: Parul Sood
Shimla: A journalist-to-journalist media workshop was organised here by the Indian Media Center for journalists on Friday, during which a number of journalists from across the country and NGO workers discussed issues related to tobacco consumption and the COTP Act. The participants also discussed the menace of tobacco in Himachal Pradesh. Incidentally, the day also coincided with the World Cancer Awareness Day.
Tobacco is a leading cause of preventable deaths in the world (ahead of AIDS) and most of the deaths in the productive age group are being caused because of tobacco alone. Reportedly, about 104 people are dying every second in the world because of tobacco and as per a study it is expected that till 2030 nearly eight million people in the world will die because of this. Unfortunately, India remains second only to China and has the highest number of people consuming tobacco in any form.
The ill effects of tobacco are many and a person using tobacco can die of stroke, blindness cataracts and most importantly cancer. Among the other major side-effects include impotence in men and breast cancer and menopausal problem in women. These findings were discussed at length during the workshop.
Pranay from the International Union, an NGO told said that by 2010 it is expected that nearly one million people will die of tobacco. He told that there are a lot of misconceptions in the minds of the people that ban on tobacco will leave people unemployed as the beedi industry mostly engages children and women in this trade and these workers are not being paid equivalent to even NREGA.
Further, participants also put the concept of lavish revenue generation from tobacco wrong as they clamed, per the data presented more is being spent on health care and loss of productivity due to tobacco. So while the industries and key players that manufacture tobacco remain benefited, the cost in addition to the trauma to be spent on the health services and ailments that come off from tobacco is borne by the general public.
Briefing the media personnel on the occasion about the Tobacco Act, legal officer Amit from Hriday said that for the Act to be implemented thoroughly a media campaigning through communication and advocacy is must in addition to strict monitoring of the events.