Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda conferred the WHO Director-General’s Special Recognition Award for global tobacco control. The global recognition was presented to him by Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia at the ‘National Consultation on Accelerating Implementation of World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) for achievement of SDGs’.
Accepting the award, JP Nadda said that it is recognition of the collective endeavor of the Ministry, members of NGO, social activists, civil society organizations and many more who are not present here, but are contributing to this cause day in and day out in their own ways across the country. “Tobacco is a prime driver of poverty and it affects the family as a whole, the community and the country and requires a multisectoral approach to control it. It has rightly been identified as a development issue. I am happy that tobacco users have reduced by 81 lakhs and youth consumption of tobacco sees marked decrease”, Nadda further 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, age of initiation among youth has also increased by one year,” Nadda elaborated.
Nadda 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,” Shri Nadda informed. The Health Minister further said that India has also put a ban on smokeless tobacco products and has strengthened the implementation of the Tobacco Free film and television policy.