J P Nadda: In India tobacco users reduced by 81 lakhs

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, J P Nadda , India, Tobacco,

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda was conferred the WHO Director-General’s Special Recognition Award for global tobacco control in New Delhi today.

The award was given to him by Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia at the ‘National Consultation on Accelerating Implementation of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) for achievement of SDGs’.

Accepting the award, J P Nadda called “tobacco a prime driver of poverty.”

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However, he said he was happy to state that the tobacco users have reduced by 81 lakhs and youth consumption of tobacco sees marked decrease.

In his acceptance speech he stated:

“My focus has always been on youth. My mantra for success in tobacco control efforts is “Catch them Young”. I am very pleased to note, therefore, that there has been a 54% relative reduction in prevalence of tobacco use among minors (15-17 years) and 28% reduction in the age group of 18-24 years. Further, the age of initiation among youth has also increased by one year.”

He also said that India has come a long way in controlling the use of tobacco.

“We have implemented large pack warnings with 85% pictorial health warnings on both the sides, conducted second round of Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), strengthened & upscaled cessation facilities with the launch of the toll-free national tobacco Quitline and mCessation services and have made substantial investment under the 12th Five Year Plan for expansion of National Tobacco Control Programme – which has been recognized by WHO as a best practice in its Global Tobacco Control report, 2015.”

Nadda told the audience that India has also put a ban on smokeless tobacco products and has strengthened the implementation of the ‘Tobacco Free’ film and television policy.

Anupriya Patel, Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, also pointed out that with 27 crore users, tobacco consumption in India is second largest in the world and hence the efforts must go on.