14th WCTOH Kickstarts in Mumbai


The 14th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health got underway in Mumbai with several anti-tobacco advocates, health experts, scientists, educators and policymakers having gathered to tackle the growing concern about smoking around the world.

Inaugurated by the Governor of Maharashtra, SC Jamir, the conference is being held in India for the first time. The issue is acute in India, which is the world's second largest producer and consumer of tobacco, and has never had a large-scale tobacco control campaign.

Jamir called for specific corrective measures to save the people, especially the youngsters, from the perils of tobacco. He lamented the fact that 90% of all oral cancer cases in South East Asia are linked to tobacco consumption. Anbumani Ramadoss speaks on tobacco in India

The Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss also present at the 14th WCTOH said, "In India, 57 per cent of men and just over 10 per cent women in the age group 15 to 49 use tobacco in some form or the other." He was hopeful that by May 31st, there will be pictorial warnings on all tobacco products.

With regards to smoking in films, Ramadoss said that a new strategy will be implemented to fight this issue, because in the past, villains were shown smoking, but now most of these scenes are filmed on heroes, which are admired by the youth.

In fact, one study revealed that 52% of the child-smokers had their first puff after seeing their heroes smoke on the screen. He rued the fact that a silent majority of 85% (who are against smoking) is being systematically overpowered by the noisy minority of the tobacco industrialists.

Youth Refuse to be Targeted by Tobacco Industry
Tobacco free youth at the WCTOH
Youth from 27 countries met at the 2nd Global Youth Meet (GYM) in the lead up to the 14th World Conference on Tobacco Or Health expressed their common ire against cross-border tobacco advertising in films. GYM was organized by Health-Related Information Dissemination Amongst Youth (HRIDAY) and Salaam Bombay Foundation.

There are more than 160 youth from 27 countries and nine Indian states who are participating in the GYM 2009. They devised country-specific action plans on effectively implementing the smoke-free policies and ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in their respective countries.

Corporates Pledge to have Smoke-free Work Places

Corporate leaders from 60 companies came together during the conference to pledge to make work places smoking free. At least 19 companies signed a commitment to have a smoke-free environment. The anti-tobacco law came into effect in the country last year on October 2nd. The rules mandates that all public places, including government offices, public and private offices be smoking free.

"Smoking at work places leads to an increase in the number of sick leaves taken by an employee, increases the health care costs by about 18 percent, besides more occupational stress on smokers," said Shyam Pingle, a doctor and President of Indian Association of Occupational Health.

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Pre-conference Youth Workshop - 14th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

India film smoking ban is lifted


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