Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Launches National Campaign

27th March 2018, New Delhi, India: Vital Strategies commends the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, (MOHFW), Government of India, on the launch of a national tobacco control mass media campaign to warn people about the deadly harms of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke (SHS). “Clinical”, a 30-second Public Service Announcement (PSA), reveals how exposure to SHS causes stroke and heart disease among non-smokers and encourages smokers to protect others by quitting smoking. It is the first national tobacco control mass media campaign to promote the quitline number, 1-800-11-2356.

According tothe Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), India, 2017, there has been a reductionin exposure to SHS in India since 2009-2010 (the time of the last GATS Indiareport), but a large proportion of adults and children are still exposed tothis invisible killer. Exposure to SHS in public spaces reduced from 29 percentto 23 per cent and exposure in the home reduced from 52 percent to 39 per cent,but exposure in the workplace rose marginally from 29.9 percent to 30.2percent. Fully comprehensive smoke-free laws, with no exemptions, are moreeffective in protecting smokers and non-smokers. 

Research hasshown that media campaigns are one of the most effective means to build supportfor tobacco control policies and prompt people to stop smoking. It is oneof the World Health Organization’s M-P-O-W-E-R (W=Warn) strategiesto reduce tobacco consumption. 

Dr.Pankaj Chaturvedi, Professor and Surgeon, Tata Memorial Hospital, said “ Second hand smokeaffects the heart and increases the risk of smoking related diseases innon-smokers. Effective implementation of smoke free policies in work places,public areas and other areas could be a preventive strategy to protect peoplefrom second hand smoke. Mass media campaigns such as ‘Clinical’ can prove to be very effective in conveying theharms of second hand smoking and results of involuntary exposure to tobaccosmoke.” 

“There is nosafe level of exposure to second-hand smoke, but many people don’tknow about this invisible killer,’ said Dr. Nandita Murukutla,Vice President, Global Policy and Research, Vital Strategies. ‘Weexpect the campaign will be highly effective in changing knowledgeand behaviors around the health risks of second-hand smoke. It willincrease  support for strong enforcement ofIndia’s smokefree laws, increase traffic tothe national quitline and mCessation website at the National HealthPortal, and help to discourage people from consuming tobacco in any form.Vital Strategies is pleased to partner with the Ministry of Health andFamily Welfare in delivering this campaign.” 

Researchstudies from a number of countries indicate that most people successfully quittobacco using the cold turkey method (quitting abruptly). To support people whowant guidance and help in quitting tobacco use, the Government of Indiaestablished a national Quitline on 1-800-11-2356 and an onlineresource, as recommended in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control andMPOWER framework. 

VitalStrategies provided technical assistance for this campaign, whichwill be broadcast in 17 languages over a period of three weeks on thechannels of public service broadcasters Doordarshan and All India Radio forpan-India reach. The campaign will also run on major digital mediaplatforms including YouTube, Facebook, Hotstar and Voot. A simultaneous socialmedia campaign using the hashtags#quittobaccoindia and #smokefreeindia will amplify the PSA and urgepeople to quit tobacco. 

Clinical” was filmed in India, and its effectiveness wasassessed in test screenings among Indian audiences. During message-testingresearch, the campaign was found to be highly effective in communicating theharms of SHS, particularly on the heart. In rigorous message testingacross India and two other countries - China and Russia -“Clinical” was one of the PSAs that was consistently positively rated by both smokersand non-smokers, performing well on indicators such as messageacceptance (viewers accepted the message of the PSA), perceived effectiveness(how effective it was in delivering that message), and behavioral intention(whether the PSA made the viewer think about changing their behavior). The‘Clinical’ PSA, and stills and transcripts from the PSA, are available uponrequest. 


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