New Delhi, A delegation led by former Health Minister of Bihar, now Member of Parliament Ashwini Choubey met the President Shri Ram Nath Kovind with senior cancer surgeons and Sambandh Health Foundation (SHF) team yesterday. They requested his support in protecting children from addiction, especially, tobacco. The President agreed that this is a serious issue and we all need to get involved in this. He felt that just awareness is not sufficient, a national campaign has to be mounted which should be led by the youth themselves.
Ashwini Choubey informed the President that while he was Health Minister of Bihar he worked on tobacco control with Voice of Tobacco Victims and Sambandh Health Foundation and got good outcomes in Bihar. His view was that for Public Health it is essential to protect our youth from tobacco use.
Trustee of Sambandh Health Foundation’s (SHF) Sanjay Seth shared with the President that as per Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS-2) 2017, there are 26.7 crore (28.6%) adult (15+) tobacco users in India. Everyday 5500 children initiate tobacco use in the country and most of them become lifelong addicts. This is extremely worrisome. As per GATS-II, 92.8% people are aware of harms of smoking. Seth added that only 3% are able to quit. Prevention is a far better strategy than trying to get people to quit tobacco habit. It is, thus, necessary that we provide safe environment to children in schools and colleges by making them tobacco free.
Dr Harit Chaturvedi, Chairman Max Oncology and Dr Vedant Kabra, Director Fortis Hospital talked about how tobacco is impacting all parts of the body. Diseases caused by tobacco such as cancer, cardiovascular and pulmonary not only impact the patient but the entire family is destroyed in getting these treated. They pointed that 40-50% of cancers and 90% of oral cancers are caused due to tobacco consumption. Hence, if tobacco use can be reduced these cancers can be prevented.
The Delegation included Ashima Sarin, Director Sambandh Health Foundation; Vibhor Nijhawan, Aviral Choubey and Aparmeet Singh. Attached is the photo of delegation with the Hon’ble President.