A National Advocacy Workshop on Tobacco Control Laws and related issues in India will be inaugurated by Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss today.
The two-day workshop aims to build awareness about tobacco control issues including the existing legislation and to improve enforcement capacity of the provisions of the Indian Tobacco Control Act, 2003.
The workshop will be attended by diverse stakeholders such as senior government officials, members of media, health sector professionals sand civil society representatives.
The multi-dimensional and intersectoral aspects of action on many fronts (such as Section-4, provision on prohibition of Smoking in Public Places) require cooperation of police, municipal corporation, road transport and railways authorities.
Similarly, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is responsible for enforcement of Section-5, provision related to prohibition of advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products.
The workshop comes in the aftermath of announcement of the ban on smoking from October 2.
The workshop is the part of the Health Ministry's exercise to engage various stakeholder. The Ministry has planned one national level advocacy workshop and five regional workshops to raise the level of awareness.
As diverse interests are at loggerheads for tobacco control, it is imperative for all stakeholders to be sensitized to public health concerns or impact of their action on tobacco control. The proposed workshops are a major step in that direction.
Tobacco is the most common preventable cause of death in the country. The latest round of NFHS-3 (2005-06) indicates an increasing prevalence of tobacco consumption in India, with 57 per cent males and 10.9 per cent females reputedly consuming tobacco in some form.
The Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) 2006 also indicates a decrease in the age of onset of tobacco consumption in the age group of 13-15 years. As per report of the Tobacco Control of India 2004, nearly one million people die due to tobacco consumption every year.
There are studies to indicate that approximately 40 per cent of the disease burden in the country is associated with some form of tobacco or other. Approximately 50 per cent of all cancer deaths in the country are due to tobacco consumption.