IEP Chandigarh, November 1
Under the leadership of Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, Punjab Government has initiated a drive to wipe out tobacco usage to save children and youth across the State. Punjab is the first State in the country who celebrated a state specific “Punjab State No Tobacco Day” on 1st November. The theme of Punjab State No Tobacco Day 2022 campaign is “Tobacco Free Health Institutions”. The motive of this campaign is to make all the institutions Tobacco free and to protect non-users from involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke.
Divulging about the strenuous efforts of Punjab Government to eradicate tobacco usage in adolescent groups and youth, Punjab Health Minister Mr. Chetan Singh Jauramajra stated that a special week long campaign has been launched w.e.f 1st November to 7th November 2022 for declaring all the Government health institutions as Tobacco Free and for the strict implementation of Anti-Tobacco laws. At district level, all the Govt. health institutions will be declared as Tobacco Free.
According to the National Family Health Survey 2020-21 (NFHS-5) conducted under the aegis of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the tobacco use among men in Punjab state declined from 19.2% (NFHS-4) to 12.9% (NFHS-5) during last 5 years, which is lowest among all the states of the country.
Speaking more about this ongoing initiative, Mr. Jauramajra said that the Health department of Punjab has taken up tobacco control as a flagship program. Total 14065 (2021–22) & 10,708 (April–Sept 22) Challans have been issued against the violators under Cigarette and other Tobacco products Act, 2003 (COTPA, 2003). Tobacco Cessation centers (TCCs) have been established in all the districts. Free counseling services and cessation medicines like Tab Bupropion, Nicotine gums and patches are being provided in these centers. Total 19932 (2021- 22) & 5142 (April–Sept 2022) tobacco users have availed services at TCCs. More than 700 Villages in the state have been declared as Tobacco Free.
Mr. Jauramajra urged that everyone of us should pledge to make Punjab a tobacco free state as tobacco use is associated with a range of communicable and non-communicable diseases and mental health disorders, wreaking a high social cost. He said that Punjab is a pioneer state to focus on youth by timely ban on E cigarettes, hookah bars and by declaring schools as Tobacco Free. State will continue making efforts to curb this menace of Tobacco usage as this will go a long way in deterring young children & youth from initiation & also motivate current users to quit.