Team of VoTV patrons led by Dr. Amal Kataki and Dr. Ashok Das met and sensitized various Policy makers in the States of North East India. These policy makers were met to get their support towards tobacco control.
Governor of Assam and Meghalaya, Assam Health Minister, Assam Education Minister, Former Chief Minister of Assam, Assam MP were some of the people who were met during the last month. Editor of one of the most renowned Assamese daily was also met and sensitized to get support from media.
In the verge of saving lives that are destroyed due to tobacco VoTV patrons from across the country had met to discuss strategies and plans going forward.
VoTV patrons from all India gathered on 27th and 28th of June 2015 to discuss various aspects of tobacco control through VoTV. Healis Director Dr. PC Gupta, VoTV COO – Mr. Sanjay Seth, VoTV project Director – Ms. Ashima Sarin, VoTV Project Coordinators from various states had also participated in the event.
Success stories of VoTV from Assam, Punjab, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala were shared by respective patrons. Mr. Steve Tamplin from John Hopkins also gave a talk.
30th May 2015
Dear Shri Narendra Modi,
Pranaam. Advance greetings from the widows of five former smokers and tobacco users on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day (31st May). We feel it is apt to greet you on this great occasion as the government is a major shareholder in the tobacco industry. Our late husbands have contributed considerable amounts to your government’s massive tax income from the tobacco industries, and also to the profits of Life Insurance Corporation, financial institutions, mutual funds etc, who hold about 35% shares in ITC and other tobacco companies.
We are writing to you also because, although state after state has banned chewing-tobacco Gutka, there is only one state where gutka is manufactured: Gujarat. It is the only state in entire India that continues to manufacture gutka. From there, it is smuggled to all other states of India, in violation of the bans. Surely you know this?
Mr Prime Minister, Sir, we beg to introduce ourselves and describe the ordeal that the tobacco industry has put us and our families through.
VoTV patrons Dr. Paul Sebastian and Dr. Jayakrishnana, with Tobacco Free Kerala team and VoTV patient had meetings with the Chief Minister and Secretary for Taxes in the state for advocating on tobacco taxes.
Shri Oomen Chandy, Hon’able CM Kerala was met by Dr Paul Sebastian and briefed the Chief Minister about the harms of tobacco, especially bidis, and pointed out bidis are not being taxed in Kerala. The Chief Minister readily agreed the fact that bidi industry is in crisis in Kerala with scant workers employed in them. We also told him most of the bidis used by Kerala users are being brought from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and other states, escaping the tax net. That Tamil Nadu is taxing bidis at 14.5 per cent was pointed out to him. Revenue generated as a result of tax increase based on RTI data was also highlighted. Joining the team was 28-year-old tobacco-induced victim. Dr Paul explained how the young man had lost his ability to speak clearly following a surgery to treat tobacco-induced oral cancer. Chief Minister was pained to see the young man’s condition and expressed dismay on learning that two years of tobacco use had brought this malady to the youngster. Patient narrated his experience and said he knows of many friends who had cut down on cigarette consumption following tax increase and appealed to the Chief Minister to increase taxes on cigarettes and bring bidis under the tax net.
VoTV in Association with RVHA organized a press conference, post budget session, seeking increase of taxes on tobacco and ban on zarda.
Dr. Pawan Singhal, VoTV patron explained the media how difficult it is to see people getting operated and losing part of their face due to tobacco consumption. He also mentioned that it is painful to see youth of this country losing their lives.
VoTV was conducted by Dr. Pawan Singhal, in The 3rd National Training Program on TAPS (Tobacco Advertisement Promotion and Sponsorship) organized by The Union (International Union against Tuberculosis & Lung Disease) on 3-5 December 2014 at Hotel Country Inn, Jaipur.
Dr. Pawan Singhal (VoTV Patron & Head and Neck Surgeon, SMS Hospital) conducted the session on VoTV. VoTV patient (Tongue cancer patient) from Alwar told in an unclear voice that he had a very happy family to live, but chewing Gutka spoiled his family and life. Patient’s brother shared that not only the patient but also his family was affected due to Gutka related cancer.