Tobacco Free School To Tobacco Free Home Campaign - Eastern Mirror
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Op-Ed

Tobacco Free School to Tobacco Free Home Campaign

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By EMN Updated: Apr 13, 2023 10:21 pm

A new initiative by State Tobacco Control Cell, NTCP to take Anti-Tobacco campaign from Tobacco Free Schools to Tobacco Free Homes in Nagaland.

Background

In Nagaland 43.3% of all adults either smoke tobacco and/ or use smokeless tobacco as per Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS-2), against a National average of 29 %. Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS-4) shows that 43 % among the age group of 13-15 years of school going children use Tobacco, ranking 2nd highest in the country. Because of this, tobacco use has become acceptable social habit in Naga society. There is also low level of awareness about the danger second hand smoke and about the hazard of indiscriminate spitting. Smokeless Tobacco use is extremely high in Nagaland and litters from the used products have been causing environmental problems and spitting has become a nuisance as it disfigures public properties and become source of infectious diseases. The disease burden attributed to tobacco use such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes are on the rise and so also the medical cost. The incidence and mortality of Tuberculosis and HIV respectively attributed to smoking is expected to be quite significant. A recent pilot study in the state also shows that expenditure on Tobacco products alone is taking a huge economic toll on the vulnerable sections. The concept of Tobacco free educational institutions.

Tobacco Free (EI) Educational Institution campaign is an initiative of National Tobacco Control Programme under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Awareness program on the harmful effect of tobacco use and provision of basic Tobacco Control Law (COTPA 2003) are conducted in schools and colleges. We also encourage the institutions to adopt tobacco free guidelines of National Tobacco Control program in order to be declared as Tobacco Free. For this the institutions must carry out a set of activities each carrying certain marks and they have to secure minimum qualified score (90 out of 100) in order to be declared as tobacco. (As per the New ToFEI guideline of NTCP). Regular awareness, advocacy, and enforcement are caried out to sustain this initiative.

The objectives of Tobacco free home campaign

When an Educational Institution has become Tobacco Free it is assumed that every student is aware of the basic provisions of COTPA 2003, the dangers of smoking, second hand smoke, chewing smokeless tobacco products, transmission of infectious disease through indiscriminate spitting and the hazard of litters from tobacco products and so they have the required knowledge to create awareness in their homes. When the students are motivated and given in-charge of creating anti-tobacco awareness in their homes there is huge potential to take this campaign to thousands of homes. When awareness is created in every such home it will also bring about huge impact on the overall behaviour of the citizens.

Tobacco free schools to tobacco free homes- An initiative of State Tobacco Control Cell Nagaland

Keeping with the above potential in mind the State Tobacco Control Cell has started a pilot project called “Tobacco Free Schools to Tobacco Free Homes campaign”. Here the students themselves will give awareness to their parents about the danger of smoking, second hand smoke, chewing of tobacco and indiscriminate spitting. They will also give awareness on basic provisions of Tobacco control law (COTPA 2003) in regards to ban of smoking in public places, and ban on sale tobacco products to minors and near educational institutions. Awareness will also be given on how litters from tobacco products and plastic can lead to environmental issues and soil pollution. In order to be eligible for Tobacco free home badge, a simple checklist is given to the intending students which needs to be first complied with. When they are ready, Tobacco free home pledge is signed by the head of the family. Students of such homes will enforcing the Tobacco Free home norms in their respective homes.

Long term goal of Tobacco free home campaign

We have guidelines and provision of laws for tobacco control but implementation on the ground become a huge challenge in a vast country like India and our campaign never reaches all sections of people. The relentless interreference from tobacco industry to derail our campaign will never stop and sometimes we are wasting our precious time by engaging them in endless legal battle. So, if we want to see our progress for tobacco control only in absolute term, or depend only on tobacco control laws and regulations, we may never achieve our objectives. The most important thing we need to do for tobacco control is awareness and it should start with schools and homes. Even though we have Tobacco free educational institution guideline, Tobacco free home campaign is a new concept. But once properly implemented this initiative will create good awareness about the danger of tobacco use, reduce the frequency of smoking and Smokeless Tobacco use, reduce exposure to second hand smoke, improve cleanliness and compliance of tobacco control laws in short term. In the long term, it will bring down the prevalence of tobacco use and reduce the disease and economic burden attributed to tobacco use in our society.

We hope this initiative could become a game changer in reaching every home with Anti-tobacco campaign.

Dr Arenla Walling
State Nodal Officer

National Tobacco Control Programme Nagaland

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By EMN Updated: Apr 13, 2023 10:21:03 pm
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