The report by NICPR and WHO FCTC secretariat wants ban on manufacture, sale and import of smokeless tobacco

An institute under the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), along with the WHO anti-tobacco secretariat has compiled a report that recommends banning manufacture, selling and import of smokeless tobacco products as per a WHO framework.

The first-ever compilation of the global progress made in implementing smokeless tobacco control policies was prepared by the National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research (NICPR) in collaboration with the ICMR and World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

NICPR has been designated as a WHO-FCTC global knowledge hub for prevention and control of smokeless tobacco (SLT). The use of SLT products, which includes pan masala, gutkha and khaini, is a serious public health issue in India and the region. Globally there are nearly 36 crore SLT users. Around 80 per cent of these live in South-East Asia and 66 per cent in India and according to the latest Global Adult Tobacco Survey India Report nearly 20 crore Indians use SLTs.

A 2010 study estimated that more than 36,8000 deaths were attributable to smokeless tobacco use in the country.

The key recommendations are banning of manufacture, selling and importing of such products; organising awareness programmes; and training to health professionals for providing behavioural interventions, specifically for smokeless tobacco cessation, taxing of such products and preventing their sale to and by minors, the statement said. The report was released today by Balram Bhargava, Director General, ICMR, and Secretary, Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Bhargava highlighted the dual burden of tobacco in India and South-East Asia nations such as Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. He said that the report will go a long way in providing guidance to parties on how to implement effective SLT control measures within their jurisdictions. “It should be mandatory for all medical colleges to have tobacco cessation clinics. Those that do not have them should be derecognised…have sought an appointment with the prime minister to discuss this,” Dr Bhargava said.

A 2010 study estimated that more than 36,8000 deaths were attributable to smokeless tobacco use in the country. To address the burden of smokeless tobacco, the Government of India joined hands with the WHO-FCTC Secretariat and set up a global knowledge hub on Smokeless Tobacco (KH-SLT) at the ICMR-NICPR, Noida. The WHO FCTC Secretariat initiated and supported the compilation and publication of this report.

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