Hailakandi: A ‘pledge for life’ tobacco free youth campaign to save the children from tobacco addiction was held in different schools and madrassas across the district on Monday.
Teaching, non-teaching staff and students participated in large numbers vowing to make Hailakandi district tobacco-free and to encourage youngsters to give up tobacco consumption.
Inspector of Schools, Rajiv Kumar Jha said through this campaign, the ill-effects of chewing tobacco, smoking cigarettes, bidis, betel-nuts, etc were taught to the school students by the principals, teachers and social activists.
Some advocated for community mobilization to encourage young people to give up tobacco consumption, while others pitched in for accelerating tobacco control measures for achieving the goals under the National Health Policy.
The speakers, one after the other, made a strong call for raising the level of awareness to the desired level to drive home the message about the effects and impact of smoking and chewing of tobacco in any form on health for ushering in healthy behaviours. They were unanimous that broad educational efforts that reach all age groups to be more effective in influencing youth behaviour than all efforts put together.
The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced. It kills nearly six million people annually. In India, tobacco use kills about one million each year. There are about 267 million tobacco users in India. Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke kill about 926,000 people each year. Smokeless tobacco use kills an additional 200,000 people in India every year with more than 3/4th tobacco users have it in the chewing form. Therefore, the crying need of the hour is to frame policies that address this form of tobacco vigorously. If the current trend continues, tobacco will account for 13% of all deaths by 2020.