Goa was the first state to ban Gutka and Pan Masala. Goa has always been a leader in the tobacco control movement in India. In a gesture rarely seen in India, Shri Digambar Kamat,Honble Chief Minister of Goa and Shri Manohar Parrikar, Honble Leader of Opposition signed a joint appeal to make Educational Institutions of Goa completely tobacco free. This sends out a signal to other political leaders of India and motivates them to forget political differences to safeguard of nation’s health. We congratulate Dr Shekhar Salkar, Cancer Surgeon at Manipal Hospital for making this unique feat happen.
Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Gujarat wrote a letter supporting the Voice of Victims Campaign. This effort was led by Dr Pankaj M Shah, a renowned cancer specialist of Ahmedabad. Unfortunately, Ahmedabad has one of the highest incidence of oral cancer in the world due to high prevalence of Gutka/Pan masala chewing habit. We hope Honble CM will do his best to make Gujarat as first tobacco free state of India.
Dr Chaturvedi’s speech as Civic Society representative in UN-NCD Summit in New York on 19th September, 2011.
I am a cancer surgeon in a government hospital in Mumbai, India. Eighty percent of the cancers of my specialty are related to tobacco and 50% of the newly diagnosed patients they die within 12 months and most of them are young or middle age. There is nothing more urgent than Tobacco Control.
At current rate tobacco will kill one billion in this century. In true sense it is a Weapon of Mass destruction that warrants an international coalition against tobaccoism. The war on cancer cannot be won unless we conquer tobacco. If I have to summaries 3 steps to end major bulk of NCDs – 1) Eradicate Tobacco 2) eliminate tobacco 3) Ensure 1 and 2.
Thanks to outstanding advocacy of the Voice of Tobacco Victims especially Shafique Shaikh who died of mouth cancer recently, the Minister of Railways, Shri Dinesh Trivedi has renewed the commitment to make Indian Railways the first “tobacco free” institution in the country. Mr Trivedi had been a great support to the Voice of Tobacco Victims Campaign right from the beginning. Scanned copy of the order is attached. Shri Trivedi acknowledged “Shafique was special …and some how I had developed lot of affection for him and I do not even know why …will do what ever I can so that this story is not repeated.”
Dr Pankaj Chaudhary along with Sumita Cancer Relief Welfare & Educational Society led the Independence Day activity at North Bengal Oncology Center, Rangapani Siliguri. Shankar Malakar, local MLA hoisted the flag in the hospital in presence of cancer patients mainly related to tobacco. This was followed by visit to the cancer centre and meeting with the “Tobacco victims” in various wards. One of the victims suggested to declare one day of every week as tobacco free day similar to ‘dry day’ for alcohol. Mr. Malakar promised to discuss and bring this up in Vidhan Sabha.
Shafique Shaikh Quereshi, 23 yr old, fought against Gutka/Pan Masala as a Superman in his movie “Malegaon Ka Superman”. This low-budget anti-tobacco movie was screened at IFFI in Goa in December 2010. It has won awards at film festivals in Los Angeles, Prague, Italy and Pakistan. Unfortunately, Shafique developed advanced mouth cancer because of his habit of chewing Gutka. Despite best treatment, the disease came back and now he is terminally ill. He may not be alive to see the premier of his movie 1 week later.
Taking the fight against tobacco to a new level with community participation and to increase awareness about the ill effects of tobacco among masses, Dr Prahlad Duggal and his colleagues at Amandeep Hospital, Amritsar tried to arouse the conscience of the general public by celebrating the 65th Independence Day in a novel way.