Bengaluru,May 25, 2018:  Effectiveand stringent implementation of Tobacco Control Laws along with intensiveawareness program at grass root level is the only solution and remedy to curbtobacco menace, opined health experts and other fraternity who met in the cityahead of World No Tobacco Day, to be observed worldwide on May 31, 2018.

In a pressconference organized by the Consortium for Tobacco Free Karnataka, a forum ofvarious stakeholders on tobacco control, health experts and advocacy membersstressed the theme for this year’s WNTD, “Tobacco Breaks Hearts,” which focuseson the impact tobacco has on the cardiovascular health of people.

Speakingon the occasion, Dr. Selvaraj, Deputy Director(Medical) State Health and Family Welfare Department, said, “TheGlobal Adult Tobacco Survey (GATs) II has shown a significant decrease in theprevalence of tobacco use by 5.4% from 28.2% in GATS -1 to 22.8% GATS-2 in thestate. This shows that we are putting efforts in the right direction and aregetting positive results. We are happy by the progress done so far and willinvest more of our energies to ensure better enforcement.

“This year with the help of various cardiologistassociations and medical institutions we are conducting a Walk-a-thon in thecity on 31st May to mark this year’s World No Tobacco day toraise awareness on health harms due to tobacco and especially its ill effectson cardiovascular health. The walk-a-thon is expected to clock a participationof Medical fraternity & institutions partnered with the State Tobacco-ControlCell,” he added.

Dr. B S Thriveni, Member, Task Force for NCDprevention, Govt. of Karnataka, said, “WNTD ismarked annually to create awareness and discourage people from taking uptobacco and help those addicted to stop tobacco consumption. Unfortunately,though tobacco use is the 2nd largest leading cause of cardiovascular diseases,public awareness is very low. It’s important to strengthen government policy toaddress both the direct effect of consuming tobacco and second-hand smoking.The government of Karnataka has also formed a task force which looks atpreventing noncommunicable diseases of which cardiovascular diseases share amajor chunk. As an initial step, measures are being taken to make Bengalurusmoke-free.

Participation of various institutions andorganizations plays a key role in effective implementation of smoke-free laws.Recently hospitals like HCG have come up voluntarily to support the smoke-freecity initiative and these participations are very encouraging. HCG managementteam will be providing 5000 “No Smoking” signs to the Bruhat Bengaluru HotelAssociation (BBHA) and the restaurants association on this occasion, which willhelp increase awareness.

Bengaluru’s smoke-free work is supported by thePartnership for Healthy Cities, a prestigious global network of 54 citiescommitted to saving lives by preventing noncommunicable diseases and injuries.

Speakingon the occasion, Dr Vishal Rao U S, a noted oncologist and Member of High PowerCommittee on Tobacco Control, Government of Karnataka, said “Second Hand Smoking (SHS)is a major cause of cardiovascular diseases. Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS)shows that exposure to tobacco smoke by non-smokers is 23.9% at public placesand 14% of this exposure happens at Eateries, hotels, bars & restaurantetc. This is because of a provision to allow smoking in the premises. Hence, toprevent the major chunk of second hand smoke exposure and for effectiveprevention of cardiovascular diseases it is a must for prevention of smoking inpublic places. It is necessary that Designated Smoking Areas must be removed asmost of the facilities providing this do not follow the norms as specified bythe law and put non-smokers at risk.”

Shri S J Chander, Convener, ConsortiumTobacco-Free Karnataka, said “One million signature campaignwill be launched by Consortium for this WNTD. This campaign aims to collect 10lakh signatures from public demanding strict regulation policy on the sale oftobacco products and demanding for the removal of ‘Smoking Zones’ inrestaurants and bars across the state. Also, a specially developed mobile appwill be launched in all 6 cities. Public can download this unique app from playstore and report any COTPA violation using this app. The violation report willbe sent to the respective jurisdiction’s enforcing officers for the actions.This will help in more public participation in curbing the tobacco menace andto achieve Tobacco-free city tag for all cities.”

To spread more awareness about the risks associatedwith tobacco use Consortium for Tobacco-free Karnataka has also planned tolaunch an information kiosk at public places which are crowded and has highfootfall. This has been planned for 3 days, in 6 major cities Bengaluru,Mysuru, Ballari, Davanagere, Tumkur and Mangaluru. These kiosks will beinaugurated on 29th May in all 6 cities.

Shri Dhananjay K V, Senior Supreme CourtAdvocate, said, “We are at a historical moment where we aresupporting the central govt to uphold the 85% pack warning implemented by theGoI. The recent GATS II has proved that 85% PW is extremely effectively and islike having a doctor present in the tobacco vending shops increasing awarenesson the harms and reduce promotion of tobacco consumption.”

Speaking on this occasion Second hand smoke victimSmt. Nalini Satyanarayana said “I never consumed tobacco directly in any form,my husband was a smoker. The cigarettes he smoked not only caused him an heartattack which led him to death but it also took away my voice which is my birthright. It is my personal experience; believe me, tobacco in not only dangerousto its consumers but also to those around them”. She added. 

Forfurther details or clarification please call: Dr VishalRao U S, a noted oncologist and Member of High Power Committee on TobaccoControl, GoK, 97397 74949 

  (0)   Comment