The Institute of Public Health (IPH), Bangalore, has urged that the government representatives stay away from the award function for tobacco growers organised by the Tobacco Institute of India to be held here on August 18.

On one hand, a State-level consultation was recently conducted in Bangalore on banning tobacco advertising promotion and sponsorship, which happens to be the theme of this year’s World No Tobacco Day, and on the other hand, prominent politicians would be attending the award ceremony organised in Mysore to promote scientific and progressive agricultural practices among tobacco farmers from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, said a release by the IPH.

“The participation of government representatives was not only violation of Section 5 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003, but also that of Article 13 of World Health Organisation–FCTC (Framework Convention of Tobacco Control),” the release said.

When one arm of the government is taking steps to promote public health by banning chewable tobacco products and supporting implementation of COTPA to promote smoke-free environment, it is unfortunate that representatives of the same government are giving awards for tobacco farming, it stated.

Complaint

In the release, Upendra Bhojani of Institute of Public Health said: “If the government participation in this event is not stopped, various civil society organisations, including the IPH, will register a complaint with the State Anti-tobacco Cell of Karnataka for violation of Section 5 of COTPA.”

The magnitude of death toll and healthcare expenditure because of tobacco should not be forgotten. “Every eight seconds, a person dies due to direct or indirect effects of tobacco. In India alone, 10 lakh people die each year because of the health hazards of tobacco,” the release said.

For details, call Dr. Bhojani on 9342349121.

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