Political parties have been requested to include a complete ban on tobacco products, including cigarettes, bidis and chewing tobacco,in their manifestos, by research facility Institute of Public Health.
"We have urged all political parties to include a ban on tobacco products in their manifestos for the Lok Sabha polls and fulfill the assurance when elected to power," the institute's assistant director Upendra Bhojani told IANS here Sunday.
The demand list includes strict enforcement of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003, adopting a policy and a code of conduct as suggested in the UN treaty, Framework Convention on Tobacco Control signed by India, and working towards raising taxes on tobacco products in Karnataka.
"The elections are not only about fighting corruption and inflation, but also health hazards affecting the society. Public health should be a concern and tobacco control is a major issue confronting all of us," Bhojani said.
Calling for a tobacco-free society, he said rampant use of tobacco products for smoking or chewing was posing a major public health threat across India.
A recent study by the institute found that about 40 percent of men and 16 percent of women consume tobacco products across Karnataka regularly, resulting in life-threatening diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular or respiratory illness.
"Over a lakh adults die every year in our country due to tobacco-related illnesses. Even non-consumers (37 percent) get exposed to people smoking cigarettes or bidis and suffer grave health hazards," institute spokesman S. Praveen Rao said.