New Delhi: Delhi government’s additional director of health S K Arora has been awarded the prestigious WHO World No Tobacco Day 2018 Award for his extraordinary contribution towards tobacco control.
He was presented the award by Henk Bekedam, WHO India country head at an august gathering on August 16.
Tobacco prevalence in Delhi has come down by 6.5 percent in the past six years which is more than the rest of India average figures, Arora said.
The National Health Policy 2017 of the Government of India has set targets of a relative reduction in tobacco prevalence by 15 percent by 2020 and 30 percent by 2025.
Delhi has already achieved these targets before 2017, Arora said.
According to Global Adult Tobacco Survey-2 (GATS 2, 2016-17), the prevalence of tobacco use has reduced by 27 percent in Delhi as compared to 17 percent for the rest of India average.
Similarly, current tobacco smokers in Delhi have reduced by 35 percent as compared to 23 percent for the rest of India average.
The current gutkha users have also significantly reduced by 63 percent as compared to the rest of India average figures of just 17 percent.
For cessation modalities also Delhi has performed much better than the rest of India average figures.
The Delhi government’s health department has been fighting against the direct advertisement of brand promotion of tobacco and surrogate advertisement of tobaccos in the name of pan masala and other eatables such as tea, ilaichi (cardamom) for the past four years.
“I have written to CBSE and NCERT for last few years to create a chapter in schools curriculum from classes 6 to 12 to sensitize students, teachers and parents in one go to tackle the menace of tobaccos in the country,” he said.
“We also got the 1st International Vape Expo on e-cigarette in India canceled,” he said.
“We need to further prioritize the tobacco control along with deep sensitization of masses on ill-effects of tobaccos to tackle this menace,” he said.
He praised the role of media in carrying the initiatives and health messages towards masses.