VoTV State chapter in Bihar in collaboration with Cancer Awareness Society launched in Bihar on 18th August 2013. Around 12 doctors from different parts of Bihar got together and vowed to save lives from tobacco.
Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi of Mumbai Honored for Leading Efforts to Reduce Tobacco Use in India, Giving a Voice to Tobacco Victims
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi – a cancer surgeon based at Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Hospital – will be honored today with the Judy Wilkenfeld Award for International Tobacco Control Excellence in recognition of his innovative leadership in the fight to reduce tobacco use and tobacco-related disease in India. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids will present Dr. Chaturvedi with the award at its annual awards gala in Washington, DC.
The Wilkenfeld Award was established in honor of Judy Wilkenfeld, the founder of Tobacco-Free Kids’ international program, who passed away in May 2007. The award recognizes international tobacco control advocates who contribute significantly to reducing tobacco use and inspire others to do the same in the spirit exemplified by Wilkenfeld.
Described by his colleagues as visionary, tireless and undaunted, Dr. Chaturvedi recognized that fundamental change wouldn’t happen until public figures had to confront the horrifying reality that he sees every day in his operating room. So Dr. Chaturvedi launched the Voice of Tobacco Victims campaign. This revolutionary campaign has mobilized tobacco victims and their doctors to confront India’s leaders and demand that they enact and implement strong tobacco control laws.
“Cancer specialists like me who work with tobacco victims are the constant witnesses of the crimes perpetrated by the tobacco industry,” said Dr. Chaturvedi. “I could no longer sit back and watch how helpless my patients and their families felt. I hoped these victims’ personal stories would rock the consciences of policy makers who must be convinced to take action.”
Dr. Chaturvedi began organizing tobacco victims – including many of his own patients – to help them share their stories and the impact tobacco use had on their lives. This grassroots effort created momentum and led to the formation of the advocacy group Voice of Tobacco Victims. Today, this group is one of the leading forces behind India’s growing tobacco control movement that has resulted in bans of smokeless tobacco products and increased taxes on tobacco.
Twenty-three of India’s 28 states and five of seven union territories have now banned gutka, a cheap and popular form of smokeless tobacco that attracts an estimated 65 million users in India. The movement has also contributed to tobacco tax increases in 20 states.
“Dr. Chaturvedi is a highly deserving recipient of the 2013 Judy Wilkenfeld Award. By mobilizing victims of tobacco and cancer doctors, he has transformed the tobacco control movement in India and contributed to historic progress that is saving lives,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Dr. Chaturvedi has not only created a lasting legacy in India, but also provided a global example in combating tobacco use.”
Dr. Chaturvedi’s innovative leadership comes at a critical time for India, where tobacco kills more than one million people each year. The country is also home to 86 percent of the world’s oral cancer cases, which often result in life-long disfigurement and disability. Gutka bans now protect more than 975 million Indians, comprising approximately 80 percent of the country’s population. Additionally, 700 million Indian people live in states where tobacco taxes have been increased.
“I am honored to receive this award and accept it on behalf my colleagues, especially the victims of tobacco use, who are working to stop the tobacco epidemic in India,” said Dr. Chaturvedi. “We have seen great progress in India and hope to serve as an example for the global community. The world must hear the voice of tobacco’s many victims and know that progress in the global fight against tobacco is possible.”
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with World Health organization (WHO) and Salaam Bombay Foundation, Mumbai organised a meeting on “Regulations Governing Tobacco depiction in Movies and Television: The Way Forward” on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 for the CBFC to remove all the impediments and strengthen the implementation of rules for Tobacco Control .The workshop was initiative was taken to provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to participate in the open discussion, share the experience and ensure proper implementation of the regulations for tobacco control.
VoTV Sensitization for the CBFC was conducted during the event. Mr. Amit Baliyan and Mrs. Sumitra Pednekar (widow of Late Mr.Satish Pednekar who was a cancer patient) shared their grievances of becoming tobacco victims. Mr. Amit Baliyan who is a 25-year-old cancer patient suffered a lot due to his habit. He smoked as well as chewed tobacco for nearly 5 to 6 years. Apart from financial loss the personal suffering was way too much. Post operation, he faced a lot of difficulties – tried drinking water, he felt the pain of thousands of needles in his mouth. His tongue had turned into a white patch, covered with numerous red blisters, big and small. He could not bear to look in the mirror because the right half of his face had become hollow. Despite his athletic body he had lost 26 kilograms in two months, could not move his neck and couldn’t sleep due to the pain. He used to be a cricketer and always had a dream to become a cricket coach. He said, “My parents must have forgiven me but I can never forgive myself.” Late Mr. Satish Pednekar was a cancer patient died of oral cancer in 2011 at the age of 60, because of his habit of chewing tobacco and pan masala (mawa masala). He was Maharashtra’s former home and labour minister. He had been keeping ill since 2007. His lengthy struggle against cancer ruined him and his family financially and emotionally.
The press meet of Faith united for tobacco control was held in Bangalore and was very well attended by media as well as representatives from MoH, state anti tobacco cell.
VoTV Patients interacted with all religious leaders and shared their experiences and requested the religious leaders to appeal to the masses to quit tobacco use and refrain from initiating this habit. All the religious leaders spoke unanimously about the 20 states that have banned gutka and that in the interest of the health of the people of the state especially the youth, Karnataka should also implement the ban.
On the occasion of Chatrpati Shivjyanti, Salaam Mumbai foundation in association with Maratha Chambers of Commerce and Industries, voice of tobacco victim launched an initiative named “Life First”. The purpose of the project was to mobilize the corporate with workplace tobacco cessation facility. The Chief Guest for the programme was Member of the Parliament Smt. Supriya Sule. Among other chief guest was Shri. Mahesh Zagade.
Voices of Tobacco Victim also participate in the campaign. Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi emphasized the need for the corporate to adopt workplace tobacco cessation facility. Most of the workers spend almost 8-10 hours of the day at workplace. To cope with rising demands of the job and work pressure many of the employees start taking the tobacco habit. Victims’ suffering because of the tobacco habit shared their stories.
Thousands of people, including ministers, school children, government officials, NGOs, cancer patients and doctors, on Saturday pledged not to consume tobacco and other tobacco related products and make northeast a tobacco-free region.
At a campaign, which was launched in the state on Saturday to make northeast a tobacco-free place, the people vowed to bring down the increasing rate of cancer in the region. The campaign for a tobacco-free northeast is the initiative of the Union ministry of health and family welfare and the department of health and family welfare, Assam. According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) conducted by the Union Ministry of health and family welfare, northeast has the highest incidence of tobacco consumption in India with 44.1%, higher than the national average of 35%. Smokeless tobacco consuming states of the region are Mizoram (55%), Nagaland (57%), Tripura (55%), Meghalaya (55%), Manipur (54%) and Assam (39%).
VoTV Patron Dr. Vishal Rao and his team conducted a one-hour sensitization program on COTPA which included VoTV. The event was attended by approximately 50 police officers of Bangalore. It included SP, Additional SP and all SHOs from Bangalore District. Media was also present in this event.
The SP stressed on need for strict implementation of COTPA.
Dr. Paul Sebastian (Voice of tobacco Victims patron), during an event by Tobacco Free Kerala held on February 7, 2013 at AL SAJ Convention Centre, Kazhakuttam, Trivandrum. During the event, Dr. Paul Sebastian talked about the health hazards caused by the use of tobacco products with videos of two tobacco victims – one an elderly man and another a young man – both of whom had lost out on precious productive years and had to face the trauma of cancers. Both the patients described their hardships and implored all to not use these products.
The sensitization programme was done during a capacity-building exercise for Education Department Officials conducted by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration. More than 250 education officials participated in the programme.
VoTV sensitization programme held in the police training program on February 16, 2013 at Gulbarga Police training College. The program was attended with an approximate of 425 participants. IGP Gulbarga Range Sri Mohd. Wazir Ahmed, District surgeon Dr. Nalini Namoshi and Mr. Sanualla Principal, Police training college were the chief guests for this function.
VoTV Patron, Dr. Shekhar Salkar requested the police department to direct the PI and PSI from all the police station to implement COTPA Act 2008 and not Goa Smoking and Spitting Act in a meeting with Shri. Manohar Parrikar, President of NOTE-India and Chief Minister of Goa on 22nd December 2012 at State Guest House, Altinho, Panaji.
Dr. Salkar addressed Goa Headmasters Association. About 150 Headmasters from different schools of South Goa were sensitized on the ill effects of Tobacco.
In a workshop on “Tobacco Free” Educational Institutions at the Conference Hall of the Dept of Education , Porvorim, for Principals of Higher Secondary, Colleges & High Schools, held on Dec 13th 2012, Dr. Salkar presented on various aspects of ill effects of tobacco, about students & tobacco, & about the Section 6 (a) & 6 (b) of the COTPA Act – which is the relevant Section of law for the educational institutions and which deals with prohibition of sale of tobacco products to & by minors, prohibition of sale of tobacco products within 100 yards of all educational institutions & what needs to be done to make the educational institutions tobacco free etc. Towards the end of the workshop, the Principals agreed that it was possible to work towards making their educational institutions tobacco free, and the Principals pledged to do so within the coming 6 months.