In recognition of his valuable contribution for global tobacco control, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda was felicitated with a special recognition award on Thursday in New Delhi.
Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia, conferred upon Nadda the WHO Director-General’s Special Recognition Award for contribution to global tobacco control at the ‘National Consultation on Accelerating Implementation of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) for achievement of sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Ministers of State for Health and Family Welfare Faggan Singh Kulaste and Anupriya Patel, were also present on the occasion.
After accepting the award, the Union Minister said “tobacco is a prime driver of poverty and it affects the family as a whole, the community and the country”.
He said tobacco requires “a multi-sectoral 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,” he added.
“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,” Nadda said.
Praising the central government’s initiatives in controlling the use of tobacco, he said: “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 and upscaled cessation facilities with the launch of the toll-free national tobacco Quitline and mCessation 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,” Nadda added.
India has put a ban on smokeless tobacco products and has strengthened the implementation of the Tobacco Free film and television policy, he said.
Later, Nadda tweeted: “Honoured to be selected for the prestigious special recognition award by @WHO for commitment to advancing #tobacco control in India.”
“In #NationalHealthPolicy2017, we have set a goal of relative reduction in prevalence of current tobacco use by15% by 2020 and 30% by 2025,” he wrote in another tweet.
Speaking during the function, MoS for Health Kulaste said even States have introduced special measures for controlling the tobacco use.
Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia, on the occasion 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.”
Stating that over 100 million lives have been lost to tobacco in the 20th Century, the WHO official stressed on the tobacco control at the initial stages, saying more focus should be on youngsters.
Also present during the event were Dr. Jagdish Pradesd, DGHS and Dr. Arun Kumar Panda, Additional Secretary along with other senior officials of the Ministry and representatives from donor partners, health experts and NGOs.