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20,000 schools from Maharashtra to take anti- tobacco pledge on World Head and Neck Cancer Day

Mumbai, On the occasion of World Head and Neck Cancer Day on 27 July 2018, students from over 20,000 schools in ten revenue districts of Maharashtra including Nasik, Jalgaon, Buldhana, Yavatmal, Amravati, Wardha, Akola, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli and Nagpur, falling under Rotary International District 3030, will be shown a short documentary on the tobacco menace and its ill effects caused in the society. Students in the vulnerable age will be influenced to not get pulled towards tobacco addiction.
This is an important step towards nation building by creating “Swachh Bharat, Swasth Bharat and Samarth Bharat”. This program is being organised by the Education Department of Government of Maharashtra, Rotary International Dist 3030 and  Sambandh Health Foundation (SHF). 

The main objective of this event is to make school students aware about the menace of tobacco. These students are the crusaders for ‘Say No to Tobacco and Goodwill Ambassadors for Society’ and will help in building a tobacco free society. It further supports the Maharashtra Government initiative through various departments to make educational institutions tobacco free. 
According to Global Adult Tobacco Survey-2 (GATS-2) for Maharashtra, 2.4 crore people use tobacco in form of smoking and chewing. Consuming tobacco kills 45,000 users annually due to diseases attributed to tobacco.The survey further reveals that 530 children are introduced to tobacco every day and one amongst four school going children of class 8, 9 and 10th are addicted to some form of tobacco related products.
Dr Govind Mantri - Project Chairman and Rotarian  said “One out of four school going children of class 8, 9 and 10 is addicted to some form of tobacco products. Besides serious health risks including premature deaths amongst users, this addiction also impacts the health of non-users”.
D P Mahajan and B J Patil - District Education Officer Secondary & Primary respectively, Jalgaon District said “ We are committed to providing safe environment for children by making schools tobacco free”.
Nimesh Sumati – Trustee of Caring Friends said “50% of all cancers are caused by tobacco. This leads to huge loss of lives and families devastated emotionally and financially. Let us make Swasth Maharashtra by ensuring our youth does not use tobacco”.
Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi – Professor Surgical Oncology from Tata Memorial Hospital  said “We know that focussed work on preventing tobacco exposure and addiction in youth yields very good results. Work of Maharashtra Education Department is appreciated. We also encourage parents to guide and support their children away from tobacco addiction”.