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Updated: May 22, 2010 20:11 IST

Religious leaders urged to join fight against tobacco

Staff Reporter
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File picture of a Paan vendor selling
The Hindu File picture of a Paan vendor selling "Gutkha", chewable tobacco in New Delhi. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma.

The Delhi Health Department has asked non-government organisations and religious leaders to join the campaign against tobacco abuse and make the general public aware of the ill-effects of tobacco.

Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia said on Saturday that without the co-operation of the people and the society the Department would not be able to attain success in any of the mass campaigns or programs against tobacco as far as their implementation is concerned. The Minister was speaking at a function organised to highlight the ill-effects of tobacco abuse. The function was organised by the Ramakrishna Mission and the Minister administered an oath and pledge to various religious leaders, who attended the programme, to works towards eradicating tobacco abuse.

``Delhi Government is committed to making the Capital smoke-free with an intention to protect the citizens from the ill-effects of exposure to tobacco smoke, reduce the prevalence of smoking and to honour the rights of citizens of Delhi to breathe clean air. Tobacco smoke contains deadly chemical substances. Tobacco continues to be the second major cause of death. Nicotine in tobacco is the most addictive substance in the world. Delhi has reported prevalence of smoking among 45 per cent of men and 7 per cent of women,’’ she said.

Prof. Walia added that tobacco use is a menace to the mankind and was wrecking havoc to the health of the general public. In India, tobacco kills several lakh people every year and the numbers are going to double by the end of this century if urgent action was not initiated now.

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