Dibrugarh, 20 September, Pledge for Life Campaign, which aims at saving children from tobacco, was launched in Dibrugarh University, all its colleges and communities. The Pledge for Life campaign aims at preventing children from initiating the use of tobacco. The National Service Scheme (NSS) in Assam has more than 2 lakh volunteers. Under this programme, several activities like sensitization, debates, poster competitions, rallies etc will be conducted to create awareness among college students. Additionally, one day during the 7 day camps will be devoted exclusively to tobacco control. Two nodal students will be appointed in each NSS unit who will be responsible for monitoring the activities.
The workshop was organised, jointly by NSS Dibrugarh, Assam Cancer Care Foundation (ACCF) (an initiative of Tata Trusts and the Government of Assam), Cachar Cancer Hospital, and Sambandh Health Foundation(SHF). The NSS programme coordinator and 15 programme officers from Dibrugarh University attended this workshop.
A very fruitful interaction with the college students and NSS volunteers of Dibrugarh University also took place. The team from Sambandh apprised the students of the epidemic of tobacco in Assam and India. Students were shocked to learn that tobacco harms every organ of the body and leaves families devastated with the suffering. Students came forward during the discussion and gave ideas to prevent themselves, their peers and communities around them from this deadly product.
Mr. Himadri Barman, Assistant Programme Coordinator NSS Cell Dibrugarh University said, “This is a noble cause and we from NSS want to be part of the solution against the menace of tobacco. NSS units will be working in our region on Pledge For Life campaign. ACCF is organizing a cancer screening camp in the next couple of months and we at NSS will support that as well.”
Dr Gayatri Gogoi of Voice of Tobacco Victims explained in detail the harmful effects of tobacco. She said “Oral cancer is very preventable. We applaud the NSS initiative in this regard.”
Two Programme Officers who attended the prior workshop shared their experiences with the audience. Between them, they had sensitized over 1,900 students in their own colleges and also nearby colleges. Dr Rimjim Borah, Assistant Professor Gargaon College said, “our students were very excited about this activity and believe that it is a meaningful use of their time.”
As per Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2017, Assam has 1.05 crore tobacco users which is 48.2%. More than 34,000 deaths per annum are occurring in the state of Assam only due to tobacco consumption and the biggest concern is that 140 children everyday start using tobacco in some form in the state.
Applauding efforts of NSS, Pradeep Mathur, Trustee, Sambandh Health Foundation(SHF), said, “With 2 lakh volunteers in NSS, great social reform can be brought in order to save our future generation from tobacco.”