Govt to set up National Tobacco Control Authority: Health Minister
Dec 03: Union Minister for Health and Family Affairs, Anbumani Ramadoss has asked for massive support from NGOs and general public, who hate ‘tobaccos’ as against strong lobby of tobacco supporters includes tobacco product manufactures and users to confront them in reducing the use of tobacco.
Health Minister has said in interaction to media persons that Government has firmed to establish National Tobacco Control Authority, NTCA soon after its campaign to implement the rule of ‘Publishing Pictorial Warning’ over tobacco product. “We are waiting the judgment of Himachal High Court”, said Ramadoss.
The case of publishing pictorial warning is still pending in the Himachal Pradesh High Court and likely to decide on December 13, 2007 as Court has declared the date of final judgment.
Appealing to get strong support from entire world community, Ramadoss said, “Our Prime Minister gives me the support but I need a lot more to enforce this activity.”
Speaking on the occasion of the inaugural day of 5th World Assembly on Tobacco Counters Health (WATCH), Anbumani said, “I want all the forces who are opposing tobacco to come together as a cohesive force to stand against the lobbies and industries who are ruining the younger generation of this country”. As many as 54 countries are taking part in the assembly to check the tobacco usage.
Ministry is also considering to make a rule of giving legal authority to NGOs, lawmakers, bus drivers and conductors, train ticket examiners, headmasters, mukhiyas (head of village) and sarpanchs (panchayat chiefs) as ‘enforcers’ to slap fine to whom found guilty of smoking in a public place.
Earlier, Ministry has already passed the bill of making ‘mandatory’ to publish the ‘big’ statutory warning picture over half portion of the product package. It had to be imposed from July 2006, but deferred to February 2007 and then to June and later further postponed till September 29, but never comes in the existence. The final implementing day was decided on December 01, but the matter went into the court and now the ball is in the courtroom that the fate of this rule is very much depending upon the decision of the court.
The law of pictorial warnings on tobacco products has already been proved successful in 15 countries in the globe where tobacco consumption has significantly gone down.
Thailand has proved itself as a role model in terms of curbing smoking successfully, which was one among the top list in Asian countries in smoking. On the other hand, India is still struggling to eradicate this curse that have proved to be the major cause of several severe diseases and heavy portion of Indian economy spent in the treatment of these diseases.
India has recently crossed the 26 percent figure of total population as per tobacco addicts as against 15 percent in the last decade, pointed out Ramadoss. "The World Health Organisation has issued a warning to India that it might face three major problems in future such as tobacco, alcoholism and junk-food related activities.", he said.
As per establishing NTCA, health minister said that new policy would take care of tobacco-free proposals and schemes, taxation policies and prohibiting the incoming of tobacco across the borders. “The National Tobacco Control Authority will work in liaison with the state government.”, said Ramadoss. “In the 11th five-year-plan government has allocated Rs 500 crores for National Anti-tobacco campaign”, added minister.
According to health ministry office sources, the tobacco industries are eyeing towards most broad market of India, China and Indonesia that represents the one-third of world’s population collectively.
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