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CITY TO WITNESS A WALK-A-THON, PUBLIC INFORMATION KIOSKS, LAUNCH OF MOBILE APP

FOR VIOLATION REPORTING, ONE MILLION SIGNATURE CAMPAIGN AND MANY MORE 

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

In a press conference organized by the Consortium for Tobacco Free Karnataka, a forum of various stakeholders on tobacco control, health experts and advocacy members stressed the theme for this year’s WNTD, “Tobacco Breaks Hearts,” which focuses on the impact tobacco has on the cardiovascular health of people.

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

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

Dr. B S Thriveni, Member, Task Force for NCD prevention, Govt. of Karnataka, said, “WNTD is marked annually to create awareness and discourage people from taking up tobacco 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 to address both the direct effect of consuming tobacco and second-hand smoking. The government of Karnataka has also formed a task force which looks at preventing noncommunicable diseases of which cardiovascular diseases share a major chunk. As an initial step, measures are being taken to make Bengaluru smoke-free.

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

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

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Vishal Rao U S, a noted oncologist and Member of High Power Committee 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 places and 14% of this exposure happens at Eateries, hotels, bars & restaurant etc. This is because of a provision to allow smoking in the premises. Hence, to prevent the major chunk of second hand smoke exposure and for effective prevention of cardiovascular diseases it is a must for prevention of smoking in public places. It is necessary that Designated Smoking Areas must be removed as most of the facilities providing this do not follow the norms as specified by the law and put non-smokers at risk.”

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

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

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

Speaking on this occasion Second hand smoke victim Smt. 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 heart attack which led him to death but it also took away my voice which is my birth right. It is my personal experience; believe me, tobacco in not only dangerous to its consumers but also to those around them”. She added.

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