Cyclothon in Assam on World No Tobacco Day
On the occasion of World No Tobacco Day, Consumer VOCIE with its state partner Consumers’ Legal Protection Forum, Assam in collaboration with State Tobacco Control Cell, Directorate of Health Services, Govt. of Assam and State Tobacco Control Cell, Assam and Guwahati Cycling Community organized a Cyclothon in Guwahati on 30th May 2023.
The theme of the event was ‘Strengthen Tobacco Control Law to Save Lives’. More than two hundred students, sportspersons, doctors, lawyers, social activist, journalist and government officials participated the Cyclothon. The Cyclothon started from Veterinary College Field, Khanapara and cyclists went up to Ulubari and again come back to Khanapara.
Abhinash Joshi, Principal Secretary, Health & Family Welfare Department, Govt. of Assam in his inaugural speech said “it is alarming that children and teens are lured towards the tobacco addiction. This is dangerous. Strict implementation of tobacco control law to save our children from tobacco addiction is an immediate task. It is need of the hour to save our younger generation from this deadly tobacco”.
The cyclists made an awareness drive among the common people and appealed Government of India to strengthen the tobacco control law in the up-coming session of Parliament. They display placards with slogans to strengthen tobacco control law. They also urged to remove the designated smoking areas to make India 100 percent smoke free and banning the point of sale to save the younger children and youth from the menace of tobacco.
Dr.Nilmadhab Das, Director of Health Services; Phuleswar Basumatary, Deputy Commissioner of Taxes; Dr. Ashok Das, Professor, Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute, Dr. Munindra Narayan Baruah, Director, North East Cancer Hospital & Research Institute, Dr. Subrata Chanda, Assam Cancer Care Foundation (Tata Trust) Dr. Amal Ch. Kataki, Ex. Director, Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute; Dr. Arundhati Deka, State Nodal Officer, NTCP and Dr. Tapan Das, Join Secretary, Cycling Federation of India flagged off the cyclothon.
In their speech, the dignitaries said that nearly 50% of all cancers in India are due to tobacco. Smoking worsens lung function and reduces immunity. The nationwide survey of students revealed that nearly one-fifth of students aged 13-15 years are using tobacco products in India. In Assam children are falling in trap of tobacco menace and about 12 percent of students consume tobacco in any form.
Advocate Ajoy Hazarika, Secretary Consumers’ Legal Protection Forum, Assam moderate the event and said that more than 68 percent of cigarettes smoker and 76 percent of bidi smokers bought them from street vendors, pan shops and stores. 38 percent of cigarettes, 47 percent of bidi and 52 percent of smokeless tobacco users picked up the habit before their 10th birthday. 9.5% of the students were exposed to second-hand smoke. There is urgent need to initiate strengthen the tobacco control law as this is an important step towards improving public health.
Ms. Ekta Purohit, Consumer VOICE, New Delhi participated the cyclothon and shared some important facts and figures of tobacco consumption and deaths from tobacco.
The cyclists took an oath to build a tobacco free society.