National Youth Day 2020 -Tobacco Intervention

National Youth Day 2020 -Tobacco Intervention

Every year National Youth Day is celebrated across India on 12th January to celebrate the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, to spread his ideas among the youth in our country. To remember his values and ideals, Consumer VOICE along with its state partners circulated a press note urging the government to implement the rules for Vendor Licensing to protect the youth from using tobacco products.Other than the harmful effects of tobacco, its use imposes enormous health and economic burden on the country.  Each year, over 1 million Indians die from tobacco-related diseases in India. Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2 (GATS 2) shows 28.6% adults consuming tobacco in some form or the other. Vendor licensing is authorizing a business to engage in tangible retail sales of tobacco from a shop, sidewalk stand, a pushcart, a shop, a motor vehicle which needs to be implemented to keep the younger generation from the influence of tobacco products. These will registered with municipalities and adhere to (Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act) COTPA Regulations.

In Goa Vendor Licensing has been adopted by the government, yet its implementation is left. National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE) and Consumer VOICE urged the government not to delay any further and implement it as soon as possible.

As per Mr. Ashim Sanyal, Chief Operating Officer, Consumer VOICE “Vendors sell cigarettes and bidis via single sticks, making these products cheap and accessible to children and youth. Selling of such products outside of educational institutes attracts the youth to get addicted. This move will surely curtail the tobacco consumption, he added.

In Gujarat, the government, Consumer VOICE along with Saher Jilla Grahak Suraksha Mandal, Rajkot urged the state government to adopt and implement vendor licensing across Gujarat so that the youth could be protected against the ill effects of tobacco. In Madhya Pradesh too National Centre for Human Settlements & Environment and Consumer VOICE has urged the government to implement Vendor Licensing in the state. Similarly in Tamil Nadu Consumers Association of India, Tamil Nadu is playing an active role in protecting the youth against the harmful effects of tobacco by asking the government ti quickly adopt Vendor Licensing and implement the same in the state.

Regional media of both the states provided good coverage and supported this important cause.

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State Level Consultation for Sensitization of Stakeholders to Mandate the Strict Implementation of Vendor Licensing in Goa

State Level Consultation for Sensitization of Stakeholders to Mandate the Strict Implementation of Vendor Licensing in Goa

State Level Consultation for Sensitization of Stakeholders to Mandate the Strict Implementation of Vendor Licensing in Goa

Consumer VOICE in collaboration with National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE) Goa organised a stakeholders’ consultation at Conference Hall, Manipal Hospitals, Goa on November 1, 2019. The main objective of the event was to discuss the implementation of the Government of Goa’s policy on mandating licensing for vendors selling tobacco.In the welcome address, the President of NOTE Dr.Shekhar Salkar, gave an overview of the tobacco control measures implemented in the state of Goa. He thanked the Goa Government for issuing the order on vendor licensing. He also called ULBs (Urban Local Bodies) to implement it in letter and spirit for saving lives of future generations.

Further, Shri Amarjeet Singh, Advisor Legal, Consumer VOICE, gave a presentation on tobacco vendor licensing and told “Our recent study pointed that the density of tobacco vendors is too high even in residential areas as we found 198 tobacco point of sale in 2 areas of Goa. We observed several violation of COTPA at PoS (Point of Sale).” The Vendor licensing order issued by Department of Urban Development can be very effective in tobacco control.

Shri Uday Madkaikar Mayor-City Corporation Panaji said, we will take all necessary action for the effective implementation of Vendor Licensing. Shri Sanjit Rodrigues-Commissioner of Corporation of the City of Panaji, stated “I will personally initiate a meeting with all stake holders to ensure that vendor licensing is being strictly adhered to in strategic areas like schools etc.” Dr. Jose De Sa-Directorate of Health Services [DHS] Govt of Goa, another chief guest of the event said that the public health department is working out a strategy to control and prevent tobacco-related deaths by adopting service, educational and regulation approach.

The other key speakers of the event were Shri Pramod Acharya , Anchor-Prudent TV Shri Sanyof Kudlakar, Senior Food Safety Officer FDA.

The programme  was also attended by more than 50 health experts, doctors from Directorate of Health Services[ DHS] Govt of Goa,  Food and Drugs Inspectors from Directorate of Food and Drugs Administration, Police Inspectors and Sub Inspectors from Goa Police department, tobacco control activists, print and electronic media, civil society activists etc.

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State Level Workshop for Sensitization Of Stakeholders to Support Tobacco Vendor Licensing Vijaywada, Andhra Pradesh

State Level Workshop for Sensitization Of Stakeholders to Support Tobacco Vendor Licensing Vijaywada, Andhra Pradesh

State Level Workshop for Sensitization Of Stakeholders to Support Tobacco Vendor Licensing Vijaywada, Andhra Pradesh

The Consumer Guidance Society, Vijayawada in with  support from Consumer VOICE, New Delhi organised a state level workshop on tobacco control Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh on January 29, 2019. The main objective of the workshop was sensitization of stakeholders on tobacco control measures in Andhra Pradesh through vendor licensing.The workshop was formally inaugurated by Dr. P.V.V.S. Murthy, Hon’rary President, The Federation of A.P. Consumer Organisations and Dr. T. Geeta Prasadini, Addl. Director, DPH &FW and Nodal Officer, NTCP and NOHP.

Dr. Ch. Divakar Babu, Secretary, Consumers Guidance Society in his introductory remarks has explained in brief about the overview of Tobacco Control in the State of Andhra Pradesh.  He stated that though the total per cent of people consuming tobacco and other allied products has come down from 28 per cent to 20 per cent but it is worrisome to notice that younger generation is being lured by tobacco manufacturers by their novel and deceptive surrogate ads and techniques and which needs to be curbed at the earliest.

Sri Amarjeet Singh Panghal, Advisor, Legal had made a power point presentation about the key findings of the study on Tobacco Vendors in the state.  He expressed his concern over lax enforcement of COTPA due to multifarious reasons, which include lack of awareness among stakeholders, deceptive novel methods adopted by tobacco manufacturing companies to lure especially younger generation into consuming their products , lack of co-ordination in between enforcement agencies and want of any licensing regime for sale of Tobacco and allied products. Hence, he strongly advocated for compulsory license of tobacco vendors.

The key findings of survey are:

  • The density of tobacco vendors is too high in both commercial and residential areas and there is no record available of tobacco vendors. We found 381 tobacco vendors in 6 wards/areas of 3 cities of Andhra Pradesh namely Tirupati, Vijaywada and Vishakhapatnam.
  • Tobacco vendors are violating COTPA.
  • Mandatory warning display board was not found in 82 % point of sale.
  • Tobacco products are displayed openly in 61% cases.
  • Sale of loose cigarettes is rampant 98%, which frustrate purpose of pictorial warning at package.
  • 89 % tobacco vendors were found Selling candy, chips etc. the products meant for and to attract children/youth to tobacco shops.

The inaugural session was followed by two panel discussions.  The first panel discussion was on the role of media in tobacco control.   M. Syam Sundar, Bureau chief, Hans India in his speech expressed his firm opinion that print and electronic media has a monumental role to play in promoting health and welfare of people.  Hence, he opined that media should disseminate authentic information about the ill-effects of consumption of tobacco products to the people in order to enable the latter to exercise their informed choices.

N.Jaya Prakash, Andhra Pradesh working Journalists Union has opined that media should sensitise public about the detrimental effects of consumption of tobacco on health and longevity of consumers.
The second panel discussion was on the subject “Needs and strategies for protecting the young generation from the menace of tobacco.  The experts in the second session were Dt.T.Geeta Prasadini, Addl. Director, Department of Public Health & Family Welfare, Dr. S. Bhavana, Reader, Dept of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Dr.E.Prasanth, MDS, Programme Officer, NTCP &NOHP, Dr. H.Kalyan Rao, Asst. Professor and Sri N. Poornachandra Rao, AFC&DO Food Safety and Standards Administration.

The experts dwelt at length on what needs to be done to protect younger generation from the menace of tobacco .The common theme advocated and articulated by the experts participating in the discussion was that compulsory vendor license is a pragmatic idea to be worth implemented to keep the younger generation from the influence of Tobacco Products.  The other important suggestions and recommendations made by the experts were;
(1)  Surrogate advertisement in any form should be strictly banned.

(2)  COTPA should be strictly implemented by the enforcement agencies

(3)  Awareness about the provisions of COTPA should be generated by designing and adopting multi-pronged approach.

(4)  Young generation should be properly sensitized about the harmful effects of Tobacco and allied products by formulating and designing specific plans towards children and youth.

(6)  Vendor licence for Tobacco Vendors should be seriously pursued for ensuring its implementation at the ground level. The positive signs made by the Municipal Administration in response to the advocacy efforts of Consumers Guidance Society by issuing a specific letter must be fully utilised to make co-ordinated efforts for achieving the same.

After the conclusion of two panel discussions, the floor was thrown open for comments and suggestions of the participants. Around 60 participants including health experts, municipal corporation officials, tobacco control activists,  media persons, CSOs  enthusiastically took part in the deliberations and gave their valuable suggestions.

Media Coverage

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