Targetting chewing tobacco, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said though the ill-effects of cigarettes has been much discussed, the manufacturers of ‘Gutka’ have gone “scot-free”.
“They (manufacturers of chewing tobacco) are spoiling the health of the entire community,” Mr. Azad said at a function marking the ‘World Health Day’ here.
The health minister said the government and the NGOs were all the time thinking about policies to publicise the ill-effects of smoking. “We are after the manufacturers of cigarette packets. It is actually the Gutka manufacturers who are going scot-free”.
The government has already made it mandatory for ‘Gutka’ packets to carry pictorial warnings which is a scorpion. The cigarette packets carry the picture of a cancer afflicted lung.
Mr. Azad said in order to regulate tobacco products for their harmful contents and emissions, the government is in the process of setting up Tobacco testing labs across the country.
The Government is also implementing the National Tobacco Control Programme in 42 districts of 21 states in the country.
The Health Minister said that the National Cancer Control Programme is being revised with a focus on community based approach and strengthening cancer care facilities in districts and tertiary care levels.
“We are in the process of establishing ON-CO-NET, a network connecting the regional and peripheral centres, facilitating telemedicine services and continued medical education,” he said.
The government, he said, was also implementing the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke in 100 district across the country in a couple of years.