Anti-tobacco Activist appeals cine and sports personalities to stay away from advertising pan masala

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Bhubaneswar: Odisha based Anti tobacco activist Md. Imran Ali has urged to cine and sports personalities to stay away from advertising pan masala even if it may not contain tobacco. In his appeal, Imran has described how the advertisements of pan masala by youth icons leave an impact upon the kids and youths to get attracted towards tobacco stuff.

Just to mention, the Indian tobacco control legislation Section-5 of COTPA prohibits the direct, indirect or surrogate advertisements, promotion and sponsorship of all forms of tobacco stuff. However, the superstars of cine and sports do advertise the tobacco stuff by writing “Zero Tobacco” which is very much similar to branding of harmful pan masala available in the markets, says Imran. Thus, the cine and sports personalities should come out to save millions by advocating against such harmful stuff to prove themselves as heroes of real life, urged in the appeal letter. The issues of tobacco are very alarming now; India has become the capital of oral cancer in the World.

The total deaths caused by tobacco alone are much bigger than the total national deaths caused by Malaria and HIV put together in the country. Around one million and more die due to tobacco related deaths in India, estimated by World Health Organization. It is really troublesome to see India as home to an estimated 625,000 child smokers aged 10-14 years, according to Global Tobacco Atlas data released recently. It is revealed from the discussion in the Parliament that 14 lakhs 51 thousands 4 hundreds Seventeen new cancer patients have been registered in our country and Odisha also gives very alarming figure. Around 50 thousand new cancer patients are registered in Odisha. And the number of oral cancer is much bigger which is attributed by tobacco.

The Indian tobacco control legislation, COTPA-2003 has been passed and implemented in the country and the Section 6 of this legislation prohibits the sale of tobacco products to and by the minors in the country. So also, it prohibits the sale of tobacco stuff within 100 yards of any educational institutions across the nation. This aims at making “tobacco free educational institutions” All educational institutions are bound to display tobacco free signage in the entrance of the institution. The idea is to keep the childhood out of tobacco reach. However, the children are sent to buy the tobacco stuff for their elders which ultimately encourage them to get into tobacco trap. Despite ban, tobacco stuff are hugely sold in and around of schools which help them to get habituated to such killer stuff. Apart from it, the use of khaini, locally made tobacco stuff like gundi, dokta etc are very popular in rural and tribal populated areas says Imran. Similarly, gutkha, chewing tobacco stuff is very popular despite ban in many Indian states. And a new trend in cities and townships are seen in form of hookah and attracting particularly the adolescents.

In order to check the rising numbers of cancers in India, the attention is to be paid to keep the children away from tobacco stuff as a result of which “we had submitted the petition to District Child Welfare Committee, Khurda, Puri and Bhadrak districts of Odisha appealing the tobacco free educational institutions and tobacco free childhood” added Imran. And all the District Child Welfare Committees have given directions to the concerned Education Officers to ensure the strict implementation of Section-6 of COTPA, 2003. District Child Welfare Committees, Puri has also ordered for tobacco free Anganwadi centers. The controls of tobacco use by the minors and keeping the schools tobacco free will have a greater impact in long run. As tobacco is considered to be a stepping stone to alcoholism and drug abuse, extra attention is to be given towards control of tobacco.

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