State-level workshop on enforcement of COTPA by Police Nodal Officers in Patna – Bihar
In Bihar, DSP rank officers have been nominated in districts as nodal officers to enforce the Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA). Cancer Awareness Society (CAS) and Bihar Police Department with Voice of Tobacco Victims organized a state-level workshop at Hotel Chanakya in Patna, Bihar on 17th July 2012.
This was attended by :
Amarjeet Sinha (Principal Secretary – Health)
Abhyanand (DGP – Bihar)
45 DSP rank police officers from across the state of Bihar
Amal Pushp (Director – Tobacco Control, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi)
The workshop, inaugurated by DGP Abhyanand, sensitized the police officers to the dangers of tobacco addiction and the urgent need to enforce punitive measures of COTPA Sections 4 and 6.
Dr. VP Singh did a VoTV in the workshop. Cancer survivors told how disastrous tobacco addiction has been for them and their families. The police officers were moved hearing the sufferings of the patients.
Sh. Amal Pushp, MoHFW, hailed the initiative of Bihar Police and said that this is probably the first workshop of its kind, for controlling the menace of tobacco in the state.
Sh. Amarjeet Sinha said that students should spread the message far and wide. A monthly fest would be organized 73 thousand primary schools of the country to make children aware of the health hazards of tobacco.
VoTV and Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI), New Delhi and Uttar Pradesh Voluntary Health Association organized a press conference on 11th July, 2012 at UP Press Club, Lucknow. The conference was organized to appreciate the Uttar Pradesh government for sharply hiking taxes on tobacco products. Health Minister Ahmad Hasan was present.
Ashima Sarin (Project Director, VoTV), VoTV members (Dilip Kumar, Sunil Handa), Binoy Mathew (Media Officer, VHAI), JP Sharma (Executive Director, UPVHA), Dr Sudhir Kapoor (IDA), Prof. Ramakant thanked the Government, Akhilesh Yadav, Jawed Usmani, Ahmad Hasan and others, for raising taxes on tobacco products in Uttar Pradesh.
On 1st June 2012, GLOBAL CANCER TRUST (GCT), headed by Dr Vikash Agarwal, observed World No Tobacco Day with the Kolkata Police at their auditorium. More than 200 police personnel attended the awareness program. An oral cancer patient, who was a teacher, became emotional as he shared his painful story of cancer, caused by his habit of chewing tobacco. He urged everybody to build a tobacco free society.
World No Tobacco Day at Bangalore Medical College and Research Center
The World No Tobacco Day was conducted on May 30 at Bangalore Medical College and Research Center which is also the district anti tobacco cell. The program was attended by key dignitaries including Medical education minister, Health secretary, Home secretary, Joint director food and public health, BBMP commissioner for health, WHO consultant for state, Nodal officer anti tobacco cell, IMA secretary and Dental council of India members.
On World No Tobacco Day, CNN-IBN aired the news about an RTI query filed by Voice of Tobacco Victims, which revealed that public sector concerns like Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and Unit Trust of India (UTI Limited) had a large chunk of shareholding in cigarette companies like ITC and VST. This violates an international treaty India signed in 2004.
Anti-tobacco groups are questioning the nexus between the government and tobacco majors.Government-owned Life Insurance Corporation of India has invested in nearly a hundred crore shares (99,58,91,658 shares) of ITC Ltd, VST Industries and DS Group. Cigarettes and Tobacco products, which kill lakhs of Indians every year, are the main source of revenue for these companies.
As Maharashtra struggles to curb the sale of tobacco products near schools, surveys done by the NGO Salaam Bombay Foundation throw up some disturbing statistics. 1 in 4 children at Mumbai’s municipal schools use some form of tobacco. Another survey of 200 schools, finds 61 per cent of them have tobacco shops within 100 yards of their premises. This is despite the BMC banning such sales two months ago and is in clear violation of the law. According to the latest Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), 5 million children in India under the age of 18 use some form of tobacco products.
Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Oncology Surgeon, Tata Memorial Hospital, says, “It is known that tobacco addiction starts at the age of 12 years and 80 per cent of the pan shops in India are near schools and colleges as they know if they can influence children then they would be catering to a huge market.”
On this World No Tobacco Day (31st May 2012), VoTV showed its appreciation by organizing an in the Constitution Club, New Delhi from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Keshav Desiraju (Special Secretary), Dinesh Trivedi (Ex-Railway Minister), Shakuntla Gamlin (Joint Secretary) and Ashwini Rai (FDA Commissioner, MP), Biju Prabhakar (FDA Commissioner, Kerala) were present on this auspicious day.
Dr Reddy organized “Say No to Tobacco Campaign” on 27th May 2012 at Apollo Cancer Hospital, Hyderabad. Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma and actor Bharat Reddy graced the occasion. Several college students, young executives, patients, cancer survivors and oncologists from various hospitals participated in the event. An 8-year-old-boy who was a cancer survivor broke and crushed a big dummy cigarette on stage, and a small girl wore a dress that said “Papa Please don’t Smoke – your Smoking puts mom, you and me at risk”.
Dr Vijay Anand Reddy, Director, Apollo Cancer Hospital said, “Thirty years ago, WHO declared that tobacco was lethal. It is sad that we are still allowing this lethal product to be used freely! We should all join hands to put a stop to tobacco, so that the next generation will not see tobacco in any form in the market!”
Police Commissioner Aunrag Sharma said that despite having been a smoker for 15 years, he had quit completely. He urged all smokers to immediately quit at one go, instead of trying to do it slowly.
Dr Vijay Anand Reddy and other oncologists urged the Police Commissioner –
To include tobacco control violations as part of the monthly crime report
To designate one senior officer as Nodal Officer for tobacco control in the State
To ensure that there was no sale of tobacco within 100 yards of educational institutes
To ensure that there was no sale of tobacco to minors
To strictly implement no-smoking-policy in public places, especially cafes
The Police Commissioner promised to implement these.
At the end, actor Bharat Reddy made everyone take a pledge –
I will quit smoking and chewing tobacco!
I will never ever smoke or chew tobacco!
I will never allow anyone around me to smoke or chew tobacco!
I will be a brand ambassador for anti tobacco campaign and strive to make my nation tobacco free!
Voice of Tobacco Victims and Cancer Awareness Society organized a sensitization program on tobacco with the District Education Officers of Bihar on May 8, 2012 in the Secretariat, Patna. The meeting was attended by about 70 people which included the Regional Deputy Directors (RDDs) and District Education Officers (DEOs) of Bihar, Cancer Awareness Society team, Mr. Sanjay Seth (CTFK), Dr. V.P Singh (Cancer Surgeon – VoTV patron), Dr Ahmad Abdul Hai, Surgeon (Hai Medicare & Research Institute) and Ashima Sarin (VoTV).
Dinesh Trivedi serves as a role model for the policy makers especially the Members of Parliament. Mr Trivedi served as a Minister of State at the Ministry of Health and later became the Minister for Railways. This dead honest, down to earth, people loving and pro-reform minister wanted to modernize Railways and raise its dwindling standards at par with best railways in the world. Rest is known to the world and need not be repeated here. Few people know that he is a champion of tobacco control in India.