Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda was conferred the WHO Director-General’s Special Recognition Award for global tobacco control, here 8 June 2017.The global recognition was presented to him by Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia at the ‘National Consultation on Accelerating Implementation of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) for achievement of SDGs’.Conferring the award, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia said, ”Mr Nadda has accelerated India’s tobacco control initiatives and taken bold measures to protect people against multiple health, economic, social and development hazards of tobacco use.”Noting that more than 100 million lives had been lost to tobacco in the 20th century, she stressed on tobacco control at the initial stages and that the focus should be on youngsters.Accepting the award, Mr Nadda said it was in recognition of the collective endeavour of the ministry, members of the NGO, social activists, civil society organisations and many more who are not present here, but were contributing to this cause day in and day out in their own ways across the country.
“Tobacco is a prime driver of poverty and it affects the family as a whole, the community and the country and requires a multisectoral approach to control it. It has rightly been identified as a development issue.I am happy that tobacco users have reduced by 81 lakhs and youth consumption of tobacco sees marked decrease”, Mr Nadda further stated.”My focus has always been on youth. My mantra for success in tobacco control efforts is ”Catch them Young”. I am very pleased to note, therefore, that there has been a 54 per cent relative reduction in prevalence of tobacco use among minors (15-17 years) and 28 per cent reduction in the age group of 18-24 years.Further, age of initiation among youth has also increased by one year,” Mr Nadda elaborated.He said India has come a long way in controlling the use of tobacco. “We have implemented large pack warnings with 85 per cent pictorial health warnings on both the sides, conducted second round of Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), strengthened & upscaled cessation facilities with the launch of the toll-free national tobacco Quitline and Cessation services and have made substantial investment under the 12th Five Year Plan for expansion of National Tobacco Control Programme ? which has been recognised by WHO as a best practice in its Global Tobacco Control report, 2015,” the minister informed. India has also put a ban on smokeless tobacco products and has strengthened the implementation of the tobacco free film and television policy.Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Faggan Singh Kulaste felt the need for a social movement with all the stakeholders including states participating in it for controlling the tobacco use and called for deliberating upon alternative job/employment avenues for tobacco growers.