Hublli /Bengaluru, National Service Scheme (NSS) Cell of Karnataka University (KUD) and Karnataka State Law University (KSLU) organized three tobacco control workshops in collaboration with Sambandh Health Foundation (SHF) and Narayana Health, Bengaluru. These workshops were held on February 2020 in KLE Jagadguru Gangadhar College of Commerce, Hublli, KLE Gudleppa Hallikeri Arts, Commerce and Science College, Haveri and University Auditorium, Navanagar, Hubli. Program Officers and student volunteers from 150 NSS Units participated. These Units are of Colleges of Dharwad, Gadag, Haveri and Uttar Kannada districts. Vice Chancellor of KUD Prof. T.M. Bhaskarand Vice Chancellor of KSLU Prof. P. Ishwara Bhat inaugurated the workshops.
Sambandh Health Foundation (SHF) provided technical support for ‘Pledge for Life – Tobacco Free Youth Campaign’. This was part of an action plan made for NSS activities for the academic year 2019-2020, which included tobacco free oaths, NSS Rural camps, poster competition, quiz competition and various anti-tobacco activities. During the workshop, best anti-tobacco posters made by the NSS Units were rewarded.
In the workshop, Program Officers and students took anti-tobacco pledge to refrain themselves from tobacco and encourage others to stay away from this deadly addiction. They were made aware about ill-effects of tobacco, cancer prevention, Tobacco Free Educational Institutions and tobacco control laws.
Dr. Abhimanyu K, Cancer Surgeon, Narayana Health City, Bengaluru said, “Now cancer is being detected at much early age and one of the reasons is extensive use of tobacco products. If a person initiates tobacco use early in his life, he is more likely to continue this addiction throughout his life. Since quit rate is very low in tobacco addiction, more and more efforts must be towards reducing the initiation of tobacco among youth.”
‘Pledge for Life - Tobacco Free Youth’ campaign is inspired by the Honorable President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind and supported by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. This campaign focuses on preventive strategies for youth to abstain from using tobacco and discouraging others also from doing so. This campaign is currently being rolled out in states of Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal.
Karnataka Regional Directorate of NSS and State NSS Cell of Department of Youth Empowerment & Sports, Government of Karnataka in collaboration with Sambandh Health Foundation and Narayana Health are rolling the campaign in entire Karnataka.
Dr. M.B. Dalapati, NSS Coordinator, KUD said, “It is a great initiative on a social cause of protecting our young generation from tobacco menace. Youth must be actively participating in anti-tobacco activities and these efforts will lead to a positive social behaviour change in the society. Students should take pride in saying ‘NO’ to tobacco and other addictive substances, if offered.”
Dr Somil Rastogi, Sr. Project Manager, said, “More than 1 crore people use tobacco in Karnataka – smoking and chewing. Nearly 56,000 die every year in Karnataka due to tobacco-related illness. More than 293 children initiate tobacco usage everyday. Such campaigns, which focus on prevention are bound to bring social reforms. NSS has done wonders in social welfare. They are now committed to bring this change in community through Pledge for Life-Tobacco Free Youth campaign.”