World Health Organization (WHO) has awarded Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan with ‘WHO Director-General Special Recognition Award‘ for his accomplishments in the area of tobacco control.
- Every year, WHO recognizes individuals or organizations in each of the six WHO Regions for their accomplishments in the area of tobacco control?
- This recognition takes the form of WHO Director-General Special Recognition Award and World No Tobacco Day Awards.
World No Tobacco Day’ Event:
- Meanwhile, Dr. Harsh Vardhan recently chaired an event to mark the ‘World No Tobacco Day’ on May 31, 2021, and led the pledge by everyone present to abstain from tobacco.
- The theme for 2021 is “Commit to Quit.”
Impact of Tobacco in India:
- In India, over 1.3 million deaths are attributable to tobacco use every year amounting to 3500 deaths per day, imposing a lot of avoidable socio-economic burden.
- Smokers face a 40-50% higher risk of developing severe disease deaths from COVID-19.
- As per the WHO study titled “Economic Costs of Diseases and Deaths Attributable to Tobacco Use in India”, the economic burden of diseases and deaths attributable to tobacco use of tobacco in India was as high as Rs. 1.77 lakh crores, amounting to approx 1% of GDP.
What steps have been taken in India to control Tobacco?
The following steps have been taken in India to control tobacco:
- Tobacco control legislation in India dates back to ‘Economic Costs of Diseases and Deaths Attributable to Tobacco Use in India’ which mandates the display of statutory health warnings in advertisements and on cartons and cigarette packages.
- A Central Legislation banned smoking in public places in 2002, on the directions of the Supreme Court.
- This was followed by comprehensive tobacco control legislation in 2003 [Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade, Commerce, Production, Supply, and Distribution) Act –COTPA, 2003] which aims to provide smoke-free public places and also places restrictions on tobacco advertisement and promotion.
- The ‘Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Bill, 2019’ prohibits the Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage, and Advertisement of e-Cigarettes.
- The National Health Policy 2017 has set an ambitious target of reducing tobacco use by 30% by 2025.
- Tobacco Quitline service -1800-112-356 was initiated in 2016, that was expanded in September 2018.