Concerted effort necessary to ease out tobacco consumption

The government should plan comprehensive measures for safeguarding the health of people instead of adopting a “piece-meal” approach, former Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said on Sunday.

Addressing the valedictory session of the three-day health awareness exhibition hosted by Pasumai Thayagam, a wing of Pattali Makkal Katchi, Dr. Anbumani said the onus was also on the government to initiate public awareness campaigns to prevent disease and promote healthy lifestyle. Pointing out that many youth were falling prey to habits such as smoking and liquor abuse, Dr. Anbumani appealed to the government to launch measures to ensure the health of today's youth and future generations.

Blaming the government policy for promoting liquor consumption, Dr. Anbumani remarked that while the State once used to manage education and left the liquor business to private parties, the roles seemed to have been reversed now. The revenue from liquor sale was of no value if the health of generations was squandered, he said. Referring to his initiatives as Union Health Minister to ease out tobacco consumption, Dr. Anbumani said it required concerted efforts from various Ministries and State governments for the plan to succeed. He pointed out that tobacco-related deaths alone accounted for an estimated 10 lakh persons every year in India. Pointing to the case of Bhutan which had successfully banned tobacco products, Dr. Anbumani said it was possible to do so even in India with political will.

Listing childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes as major health concerns, Dr. Anbumani called for school-based awareness campaigns and the inclusion of preventive health in school syllabi.

Dr. Anbumani later presented shields and certificates to volunteers who had participated in the organisation of the exhibition.

Sowmya Anbumani, Pasumai Thayagam president was also present.