Himachal Pradesh Government assured to implement National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) launched by the Government of India in its true spirit. As per the data, the state has over 21 percent adult population use some form of tobacco. Stats says that nearly 880,000 are smokers, which is far more than tobacco chewers in the state.

Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur said it while speaking at the conference organized on tobacco control at Bloomberg in New York today.

Kaul Singh said to achieve the goal of tobacco control as those envisaged under the NTCP, the State would build on progress achieved by expanding efforts in four key areas. The new partnerships would be formed with other stakeholders to ensure that provisions of tobacco control law were upheld.

The Minister said the strategy of the State would be to develop tobacco-free generations. The educational institutions were particularly vulnerable to tactics of tobacco industry. It was must to ensure that a policy to exclude tobacco industry from public policy needs to be in place, and help eliminate the proliferation of tobacco industry near our homes and schools and workplace.

Himachal Pradesh was declared smoke free in July 2013 and now efforts were being made to make Himachal the first fully-compliant state to all provisions of tobacco control law.

Kaul Singh Thakur said State Government had stepped up efforts to sustain the smoke free status of the state and stronger enforcement of ban on Tobacco advertisement and products without pack warnings.

Recently, the State Government had banned the sale of single cigarette or bidi and process of drafting a comprehensive legislation that conforms with the recommendation and provisions of Article 5.3 of FCTC was under process.

Thakur said that the State started its efforts with one district and just two years the entire state was smoke-free and in July, 2013 the state was declared smoke-free based on a compliance assessment survey conducted by independent organisations. He said efforts would be made to protect women and children from exposure to SHS at homes.

The state had one of the highest literacy rates and mass media efforts of Government of India supported by the World Lung Foundation has started to make an impact. Global Adult Tobacco Survey(GATS 2009-10) has showed that Himachal Pradesh had the highest age of initiation (nearly 21 years), yet we need to focus on new initiations.