NB Group’s Meenaji Gutka is popular in Uttar Pradesh & Orissa, as these states haven’t yet banned gutka. Gutka brands like Meenajee, Talab, Kamla Pasand & Pan Parag are freely sold. Cancer patients landing up at Tata Memorial Hospital from UP and Orissa frequently report consuming NB Group’s Meenajee Gutkha. This gutka (ready-to-eat chewing tobacco mix) is sold in variations like Meenajee Mawa Masala, Meenajee Priya Gutkha and Meenaji Mix Gutkha. Two patients with oral cancer who came to Tata Memorial from Orissa made special mention of this brand. This is their tribute to their favourite brand, which they have lovingly consumed for many years.
Dr Vijayanand Reddy with support from the Regional Cancer Centre of Hyderabad organized a VoTV event on 22nd August 2012 in Hyderabad.
Dr Kishore Mongaluru from the World Health Organization, Mr. Pravin Prakash, FDA Commissioner attended the event.
VoTV members (cancer patients) and their families shared their agony about how gutka and pan masala usage addiction had caused oral cancer and great suffering for the entire family. FDA assured support to the VOTV patrons for the gutka ban.
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.
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.
Dr A Kataki, Ruchira Neog of Assam Voluntary Health Association and Neelam Chadha of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids met Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on 18th February 2012.
Mr Gogoi assured support in effective implementation of COTPA (The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act) and developing a high powered committee in Assam. The CM is very positive to save children from the tobacco menace by incorporating ill-effects of tobacco in school curriculum.
Dr Vishal Rao had a successful meeting with Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda and Health Secretary Dr E V Ramana Reddy on February 1, 2012. He apprised the government about tobacco-related cancers and deaths in Karnataka. Also, he requested forming a high powered committee. The Chief Minister assured full support for tobacco control in Karnataka forwarded the file to his office.
VoTV members got an opportunity to interact with Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services on 16th January, 2012. She was heading a entourage consisting of Director, Global Health/CDC; Associate Director of International Research/NIH; Consul General, Health attache and several other dignitaries. Four VoTV members presented their views to the visiting team with their typical passion.
30-yr-old tobacco user, who has lost a major portion of his tongue to cancer after undergoing three surgeries, issues fervent plea not to encourage tobacco firms by investing in them. “Why and how do our government-owned companies invest so hugely in Indian Tobacco Company?” is what Tali Kamsi asks in gestures, lying on the hospital cot. After the third surgery, which has left a major part of his tongue removed, his speech is quite incoherent and his mother, Kengam, played interpreter when Mumbai Mirror met Tali. He started smoking when he was 22 years old, has tongue cancer. He has already undergone two surgeries at a hospital in the capital of his home state, Itanagar.
VoTV patrons met Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on 28th November, 2011 and shared with him the grim scenario of tobacco usage and related illnesses in Maharashtra. Dr Rajendra A Badwe, Director, Tata Memorial Hospital urged the Chief Minister to act against the rampant violation of Section 6 of COTPA (prohibition of sale to Minors and within 100 yards of educational institutions). Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi and Ms Devika Chadha expressed their views on this serious public health problem.