World No Tobacco Day 2020 – Towards a tobacco free generation

World No Tobacco Day 2020 – Towards a tobacco free generation

World No Tobacco Day 2020 – Towards a tobacco free generation

Tobacco products kill more than 8 million people every year which effectively means the future generation. With each passing day, tobacco and related industry is becoming smarter by the day. To target adolescents, the tobacco industry is coming up with several tricks and tactics. Some of these are:

  • Sponsored events and parties
  • Product placement in entertainment media
  • Free product samples
  • Selling products at eye level for children
  • Product placement and advertising near schools
  • Over 15,000 flavours, most of which attract children and adolescents

But in this World No Tobacco Day, WHO is planning to debunk myths and expose devious tactics employed by these industries by launching counter-marketing campaign. This year the theme of World No Tobacco Day 2020 campaign is “protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use”, that aims to sensitize and make the youth aware about the harmful effects of tobacco use and expose the tactics employed by the industry to attract the youth. Through this campaign, WHO encourages everyone to gain knowledge, spread awareness and create a ‘tobacco-free generation’.

Vendor Licensing in India

Tobacco consumption among the younger generation has its own set of problems. As per WHO, nearly 37% children in India initiate smoking before the age of 10 and 14.6% of 13-15 year old students in India use tobacco. If one goes deeper to understand the reason for increased smoking among children, it is easy availability of tobacco and tobacco products like cigarettes and bidis.

One of the effective measures of stopping school children and minors from falling prey to tobacco smoking is implementation of vendor licensing through Cigarettes and other Tobacco products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulations of Trade and Commerce Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA). COTPA, specifically prohibits smoking in all public places, prohibition of direct and indirect advertisement, promotion and sponsorship of cigarettes and other tobacco products, prohibition of sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products to minors and within 100 yards of any educational institution, and display of health warning, including pictorial warning on ill effects of tobacco use on the packages of all tobacco products.

The states and cities in India which have issued vendor licensing orders using the power under their respective Municipal laws and regulations include Himachal Pradesh, Patna (Bihar), Howrah (West Bengal) Rajasthan and Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh), Ranchi (Jharkhand ) and recently Madhya Pradesh, and Assam

Big Tobacco Tiny Targets

Consumer VOICE and Voluntary Health Association of India conducted a Big Tobacco Tiny Targets study to determine the extent of tobacco products being marketed and sold around schools in India. A total sample of 243 schools and 487 points of sale were closely surveyed during this study in these 20 cities. The objective of this survey was to ascertain whether the ban on selling tobacco products near educational institutions as per the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) is being enforced in cities across the country or not.

Also Read: Cigarette and tobacco shops can no longer sell chips and candies

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.

Tobacco Breaks Hearts

Tobacco smoking is harmful and causes cancer. But did you know that smoking isa major cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD) too. CVD causes one of every three deaths, according to the 2014 Surgeon General’s Report on smoking and health. Recognising this warning, WHO will be focusing on the impact of tobacco on cardiovascular health this World No Tobacco Day which will be observed on 31st May, 2018.

In India, every year, more than 9 lakh people are killed because of tobacco causing diseases. Yet, in India, more than 6 lakh children (10-14 years old) and almost 100,000,000 adults (15+ years old) continue to use tobacco each day.  (Source: tobacco atlas)

Tobacco Use in India

  • 19.0% of men, 2.0% of women and 10.7% (99.5 million) of all adults currently smoke tobacco.
  • 29.6% of men, 12.8% of women and 21.4% (199.4 million) of all adults currently use smokeless tobacco.
  • 42.4% of men, 14.2% of women and 28.6% (266.8 million) of all adults currently use tobacco (smoked and/or smokeless tobacco).

Source: GATS

Many call themselves a non-frequent smoker. But even if you smoke less than 5 cigarettes, early signs of CVD can set in. Even if you are smoking cigarettes with lower levels of tar or nicotine it does not reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease.  Smokeless tobacco is no less harmful. In India, 171094600 people still currently use smokeless tobacco, indicating an ongoing public health challenge.

Smoking Damages your Heart



Any amount of smoking, even light smoking or occasional smoking can bring about serious damage to the heart and blood vessels. For some people, such as women who use birth control pills and people who have diabetes, smoking poses an even greater risk to the heart and blood vessels. Atherosclerosis is caused when the opening inside the arteries narrows as plaque builds up, and blood can no longer flow properly to various parts of the body. Smoking increases the formation of plaque in blood vessels.


Smokers are at a greater risk of strokes than among former smokers or people who have never smoked. The carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood. This means your heart must pump harder to supply the body with the oxygen it needs.

Peripheral artery disease (P.A.D.)

Smoking also is a major risk factor for peripheral artery disease (P.A.D.). In this condition, plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to the head, organs, and limbs. This results in an increased risk for heart disease leading to heart attack, and stroke.

When combined with other risk factors—such as unhealthy blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and overweight or obesity—smoking further raises the risk of heart disease.

Second Hand Smoking is equally harmful

Research shows that exposure to second hand tobacco smoke is a cause of heart disease in non-smokers, which means you could be harming the health of your children, partner or friends.Secondhand smoke lowers good cholesterol, raises blood pressure and damages heart tissues of non-smokers especially children and teens.

Secondhand Smoke in India

  • 38.7% of adults were exposed to second hand smoke at home.
  • 30.2% of adults who work indoors are exposed to second-hand smoke at their workplace.
  • 7.4% of adults were exposed to second hand smoke at restaurants.

Source: GATS

Quit Now

Smoking damages the heart and blood vessels very quickly, but it can be repaired by quitting. Remarkable health improvements can be seen and within a year, heart attack risk drops dramatically. Within five years, most smokers cut their risk of stroke to nearly that of a non-smoker. Even a few cigarettes now and then damage the heart, so the only way to keep your heart safe from the effects of smoking is to quit.

The good news is 55.4% of current smokers in India are planning or thinking of quitting smoking and 49.6% of current smokeless tobacco users are planning or thinking of quitting smokeless tobacco use.  (Source: GATS)

With World No Tobacco Day being observed on May 31st in India along with the rest of the world, Consumer VOICE along with its state partners hope to create an impact and dissuade people from using tobacco in all forms.

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