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Fiinovation - An Analysis Of The National Anti Tobacco Programme
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Tobacco use is fatal causing cardio – vascular diseases, lung disorders and cancer. India has a deep rooted tobacco consumption problem. It accounts for one fifth of tobacco related deaths every year. The numerical representation amounts to 800000 deaths and 12 million affected people. The Government spends 27,000 crore rupees to aid the diseased. However the Indian reality makes it a complicated issue to tackle with compared to rest of the world. The access to tobacco has been fairly convenient. Various forms of tobacco usage include beedis, betel leaves, flavored powder (pan masala and gutka), hookah etc. In this context tobacco consumption is often an indicator of social status. The poor get tangled in this vicious cycle, by investing economically in tobacco or spending for healthcare to overcome the life threatening tobacco diseases. Fiinovation research reveal over 5,500 adolescents are addicted to tobacco and joining the bandwagon of 4 million underage youth. The death toll is expected to rise to 13.3% in 2020.
The government of India has deliberated to combat this grave problem by introducing National Tobacco Control Programme. The prime components of the programme include:
1. Establishment of a National Regulatory Authority,
2. Anti tobacco social awareness campaigns,
3. Tobacco testing labs
4. State and District administered tobacco programmers
As per Fiinovation, NTCP looks at the problem in two ways by reducing supply of tobacco and limiting the demand for tobacco. The government scant supply by eliminating illicit trade in tobacco products, pricing and taxing methods, prohibiting sale of tobacco products to minors and supporting economically viable alternative activities. NTCP addresses reduction in tobacco demands by:
1. Prohibition on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
2. Regulation and disclosure of contents of tobacco products and smoke
3. Packaging and labeling of tobacco products
4. Treatment of tobacco dependence
5. Protection from exposure to tobacco smoke
Highlights of the Programme: The collaborative effort by the government of India and WHO has covered certain milestones. India was the seventh country to sanction Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2004. This was one of the landmark conventions in addressing the issue of tobacco consumption around the globe. The 18 tobacco cessation centres all over the country have managed to aid 30,000 addicts. The country has made IEC materials to counter the wrath of tobacco use. To target the youth, media has been employed to carry out anti tobacco campaigns with role models and celebrities. School based interventions have been implemented well. State governments have also extended support targeting slums and communities at the district level.
The vital need in my opinion is to empower the civil society organizations. A law like this cannot be accurately implemented without the effort of a strong civil society organization. Capacity building of the civil society organizations would help the programme to a massive reach. The need for mass awareness generation combined with acute dissemination of information is the prime requirement. It would also help in effective monitoring and evaluation of the tobacco control legislation in areas of advertising.
By Ankita Dash
Fiinovation is associated with Health organizations for their CSR activities across India.
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