State gets Bloomberg grants to scale up anti-tobacco initiatives

The State has been sanctioned a Rs. 1.2-crore grant by the Bloomberg Initiative for scaling up its tobacco control efforts.

Announcing this at a press conference here earlier the week, Health Commissioner V.B. Patil said Karnataka and West Bengal were the two States that had been allotted the Bloomberg grants.

Founded in 2006 by Michael R. Bloomberg, philanthropist and New York City Mayor, the global initiative is aimed at reducing use of tobacco and its products in developing countries.

“We have identified 10 districts where the project will be taken up in the first phase. Apart from intensive training of officials, measures will also be initiated to create awareness about the ill-effects of tobacco use,” Mr. Patil said.

Apart from Bangalore Urban and Bangalore Rural districts, the project would be taken up in Ramanagaram, Mandya, Mysore, Hassan, Dharwad, Belgaum, Yadgir and Gulbarga.

Pointing out that the Horticulture and Agriculture Principal Secretaries had been asked to discourage farmers from growing tobacco and instead opt for alternative crops, Mr. Patil said the Home Department had been asked to strictly implement the ban on sale of tobacco products within 100-m radius of educational institutions.

Mr. Patil claimed that the State’s efforts on tobacco control and ban on smoking in public places started as early as 2004. The department had lined up various programmes to mark World No Tobacco Day on Friday.