Save Gen Next from influence of tobacco advt and lifelong addiction

On the eve of World No Tobacco Day, experts and celebrities stress the harm of tobacco.

Youth and children are being exposed daily to tobacco advertisements and promotions by tobacco companies that eye the impressionable minds to increase their profits, says international wrestler, Sangram Singh.

The Government is gearing up to curtail Point of Sales advertisements via amendments in the Tobacco control legislation COTPA 2003

New Delhi, May 30: Even as tobacco companies are menacingly luring youth and children to their products through advertisements and entertainment ploy, health experts and celebrities have called upon the Government for immediate ban on advertisement of these cancerous health hazards.

There has been alarming evidence of widespread advertising and promotional activities that influences children to start to smoke and potentially develop a habit of life time addiction that could kill them, said world renowned wrestler and actor Sangram Singh.

He expressed concern that despite the ban on tobacco advertisements, the industry is spending a hefty amounts on promotion of tobacco items by adopting various marketing tactics. “They eye youth as their probable client as they very well know that in a tobacco-addicted youth, they will have a life-time client. I request the Government that such advertisements should be immediately prohibited,” he said at an event held here on the eve of World No Tobacco Day on Monday.

Data is scary. Tobacco causes 6 million deaths globally and India accounts for one-sixth of the world’s tobacco- related deaths; 37.9 per cent of children begin tobacco use by the age of 10 years in India. This despite the fact that in India, tobacco Control Law (COTPA 2003) prohibits the sale of tobacco in and around educational institutions within a distance of 100 yards.

COTPA 2003 prohibits tobacco related advertisements but the tobacco manufacturers take advantage of the gaps in the legislation by misusing its provisions of Point of Sale (POS) advertisements and product displays. Every day, around 5500 youth fall prey to tobacco traps in India.

Noted epidemiologist and public health expert Chandrakant Lahariya pointed out that children and non-tobacco users too visit the POS and are at risk of getting addicted. Giving relaxation on POS is like inviting a tobacco pandemic.

He also brought to the notice of the Government about the tobacco threat on the people’s health in the wake of Covid-19. He cited various studies showing how tobacco users have become vulnerable to the deadly infection during the pandemic. “Every life is precious and we are losing 1.3 million Indians every year to tobacco-related diseases. Apart from cancer, tobacco is also a major cause of a wide range of chronic and life-threatening conditions like lung diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and strokes to name a few,” he enlisted the threats due to tobacco consumption.

The epidemiologist backed the demand to ban designated smoking areas in the airports, hotels and restaurants, as they were a health risk to non-

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