After having declared Himachal Pradesh as a smoke-free State, the State Government was committed to go further to make every village ‘tobacco free’ for which a long term plan is under consideration. Kaul Singh Thakur, Health and Family Welfare Minister said this while speaking in Global Tobacco Control Leadership Programme at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA.
Health Minister revealed that the State has made tremendous progress in tobacco control movement and achieved the target upto local level with its own efforts as the State was not covered under India’s National Tobacco Control Program (NTCP). He said that the State Government took the issue of tobacco control on priority and created an institutional mechanism for its control. He revealed that enforcement squads were notified at State and district level and prepared comprehensive guidelines for law enforcement. He said that for the success of the programme, sensitization workshops were being organized upto panchayat level with the support of civil society.
Kaul Singh Thakur said that the State was successfully implementing the gutkha ban and had devised a unique model of utilization of fine amount received from the violators which was being utilized on strengthening anti-tobacco campaign and other Information Education and Communication (IEC) activities in the State. He said that several other States in India were following this model.
Health Minister said that the Government had adopted tri pronged strategies for effective tobacco control which includes awareness, enforcement and monitoring. He said that the smoke free efforts of the State Government had been widely appreciated by all.
He stressed upon the need for creating awareness at grass root level about second hand smoking exposure at home by all the concerned stakeholders both from Government and Civil Societies. He also invited all the participants to Himachal Pradesh to study the tobacco control model.
The John Hopkins is one of the oldest and most reputed academic institutions in public health policy formulation, implementation and research at international level. About 100 delegates from 25 countries are participating in this international level programme on tobacco control issues.
Prof. Joanna Cohen, Director of Institute of Global Tobacco Control, John Hopkins, Mr. Mathew L. Mayers, Director of CTFK, Dr. Gauden Galea from WHO-Euro, Ms Sandra Mullin, Head WLF, Dr. Tara Singh Bam from The Union and Dr. Bill Para CDC Foundation Atlanta also spoke on the occasion.