A signature campaign has been launched by anti-tobacco groups against the Government's involvement in organising the 3rd Global Tobacco Networking Forum scheduled to be held here from October 4.

The four-day event is dedicated to discuss and subsequently enhancing the reach and scope of the tobacco industry in India. The event is sponsored by 24 leading tobacco manufacturing and packaging brands in the world.

“While it is not surprising to see these names, it is shocking to see the Tobacco Board of India, a Government entity, in the list of sponsors,” a release from Institute of Public Health (IPH), said.

The signature campaign was launched in St. John's Medical College, and one lakh signatures will be collected against the Government's involvement in the event. “Most people don't even know about such an event or about the Government being a sponsor.

The point of the campaign is to bring about some awareness on this issue,” said Upendra Bhojani, a public health researcher at IPH.

According to National Family Health Survey, 57.6 per cent of men and 10.9 per cent women in India use tobacco. While over nine lakh people die of tobacco related illnesses every year, the number of deaths in 2010 is expected to exceed one million.

More In: Bengaluru