Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda was conferred the WHO Director-General’s Special Recognition Award for global tobacco control in New Delhi today.
The award was given to him by Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia at the ‘National Consultation on Accelerating Implementation of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) for achievement of SDGs’.
Accepting the award, J P Nadda called “tobacco a prime driver of poverty.”
However, he said he was happy to state that the tobacco users have reduced by 81 lakhs and youth consumption of tobacco sees marked decrease.
In his acceptance speech he 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, the age of initiation among youth has also increased by one year.”
He also 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.”
Nadda told the audience that India has also put a ban on smokeless tobacco products and has strengthened the implementation of the ‘Tobacco Free’ film and television policy.
Anupriya Patel, Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, also pointed out that with 27 crore users, tobacco consumption in India is second largest in the world and hence the efforts must go on.