- Coalition for Tobacco Free Odisha an alliance of civil society organizations & concern citizens organizes a consultation program on improving public health by strengthening Tobacco Policies
Bhubaneswar: In a bid to have dialogue on various strategies with focus on strengthening the national and state policies, and building a conducive environment for reduction in tobacco consumption and improve the public health situation, Coalition for Tobacco Free Odisha, an alliance of civil society organizations & concern citizens organized a state level Consultation programme – ‘Improving public health by strengthening COTPA and Tobacco Control Policies’ where parliamentarians urged the Govts at Centre & State to take focus action on controlling tobacco consumption in the country & state.
The panel was chaired by dignitaries including Sj Prasant Kumar Nanda, Hon’ble MP, Rajya Sabha, Sj Mizibulla Khan, Hon’ble MP, Rajya Sabha, Sj Sujeet Kumar, Hon’ble MP, Rajya Sabha (through Video conferencing), Prafulla Kumar Mohanty, VC of Khalikot University, Ranjit Kumar Singh, Advocate Supreme Court, Dr. Krupasindhu Panda, Oncologist, HCG Panda Cancer Hospital and Dr. Minakshi Panda, Educationist & Ranjan Kumar Mohanty ,Secretary PECUC.
Tobacco kills more than 1 million people each year, which accounts for 9.5% of all deaths, says WHO 2018 report. In another report by Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2016-17, nearly 267 million who are 15 years and above (29%) are tobacco users. Also 38.7% of adults were exposed to second hand smoke at home; 30.2% at workplace; and 7.4% at restaurants.
Films greatly influence the behaviour of children and youths. Films provide an opportunity to convert a deadly product into a status symbol or token of independence. As per Smoke free movies, 3rd edition, WHO, adolescents received about 19% of all in-cinema tobacco impressions, while children aged 6–11 received about 8% (1.8 billion).
The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA) is the principal law governing tobacco control in India. It covers such topics as restrictions on smoking in public places, tobacco advertising and sponsorship, sales to minors, and health warnings on packs.
In an urge to focus on laws for tobacco display in films and OTT, Prasant Kumar Nanda,Hon’ble MP of Rajya Sabha said, “With introduction of digital platforms, the exposure to display of Tobacco has increased. There is no limit to the display of such harmful products, be it cigarette, tobacco or alcohol. The OTT platforms specifically are the major platforms to publicize tobacco as there is no censor to it. I urge the policy makers to come up with laws to prohibit the visualization of tobacco in these mediums as there is no limit to the audience of these platforms”
Highlighting tobacco consumption among children, Mizibulla Khan, Hon’ble MP of Rajya Sabha, said’ “Tobacco and cigarette are very hazardous to health. Children these days are seen consuming tobacco as it is easy available. They are the future of our nation and protecting them from such hazard is protecting the future. We need to ensure that the children are away from this. I myself have never consumed tobacco as I understand the consequences of it. For people of Odisha, I will definitely bring this issue in parliament along with other parliamentarians and do my best to strengthen the tobacco control policies”
Participating through a video message , Sujeet Kumar, Hon’ble MP, Rajya Sabha, said “I am glad to be a part of the ambitious drive to make Odisha Tobacco Free. I will definitely do my duty as a parliamentarian.” “We need to ensure proper sensitization on damage due to tobacco in schools, colleges and public places and also the law enforcing agencies needs to be sensitized so as to enforce the laws effectively. He said, the consultation process will go a long way to achieve the goal. He appealed all the stakeholders including Panchayat Raj Institution get involved in this public health issue and make Odisha tobacco free. “
Highlighting the consequences of tobacco consumptions, Dr. Krupasindhu Panda, Oncologist, HCG Panda Cancer Hospital said, “Death is must but we should not die an unnatural death of our own hands. There are 4Cs causing unnatural death which are cardiac arrest, casualty, corona and cancer. With tobacco consumption, oral cancer has now become the mostly occurred cancers diagnosed among people.” “The health issues caused by tobacco are preterm births, intrauterine growth retardation, prenatal mortality, respiratory illness, neuro behavioral problem, childhood disorder, cancer, depression etc” he further added. He also suggested remedies on getting rid of tobacco consumption like awareness, ban of tobacco in workplace, tobacco policies for laborers, new strategies and development in existing policies.
Presenting details on gaps in COTPA and its amendments, Mr Ranjit Singh, Advocate, Supreme Court, said, “The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) that was regulated in 2003 has some gaps that need to be bridged. The points that needs to be focused are there is a lack of strict enforcement of the law; although there is prohibition for smoking in public places but smoking in airports, restaurants again has led to the exposure of tobacco; tobacco is also now available easily in shops which are reachable to children; also the law for surrogate advertisement needs to be strengthened.” “Our constitution says every human being has right to life but with increased habits of smoking, non smokers are also getting affected and their right to life is violated.”
Ms Anuradha Mohanty ,Executive Director PECUC moderated the consultation.
Cancer survivors named Mr Paramanada Dalei, Mr Danei karan and Gagan Sahoo also shared their experience on how they survived and defeated the tobacco caused cancer. The Program was further attended by organization from across the state working on Tobacco control.