Lucknow youth report on implementation of health and development policies


[हिन्दी][English report card] [हिन्दी रिपोर्ट कार्ड] Youth participants of Rights and Responsibilities Summer Training Camp currently underway released a REPORT CARD on implementation of tobacco control, other health and development policies in Lucknow city. The report card monitors and analyzes neighbourhood localities in Lucknow on four priority areas: 1) tobacco control laws, 2) alcohol advertising, 3) sanitation, hygiene and waste management, 4) chewing gums.

The fifteen (15) youth participants were: Abhishek Choudhary, Ankur Verma, Deepak Kumar Mishra, Diya Pandey, Hitesh Pandey, Rakesh, Rupesh Verma, Sanjay Kumar Verma, Shikhar Agarwal, Shikha Srivastava, Sarvesh Shukla, Satyam Tiwari, Shubham Dwivedi, Somya Arora, and Udita Chandra. Faculty for Rights and Responsibilities Summer Training Camp 2012 included Surgeon Professor (Dr) Rama Kant, Magsaysay Awardee Dr Sandeep Pandey, Shobha Shukla, Dr Shivani Sharma, SGPGIMS’ Professor (Dr) Gourdas Choudhuri, Biju Mohan, Rahul Dwivedi and Bobby Ramakant.

The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) is rightly worried as, “Consumption of tobacco is increasing globally, although it has decreased in high- and upper-middle-income countries, and it still kills nearly 6 million people each year. Although 174 countries, representing 87.4% of the world’s population, are now parties to the world’s first public health treaty, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), less than 11% of the population is covered by comprehensive national smoke-free laws and 46% of the world’s population lives in countries that still permit free distribution of tobacco products.”

The tobacco control laws need to be implemented strictly. Tobacco industry interference in enforcing health policies must be checked by implementing domestic tobacco laws and also the FCTC obligations, particularly Article 5.3 which is based upon the principle that there is a fundamental conflict of interest between the tobacco industry and health policy.

The Lucknow youth gave specific recommendations on how implementation of health laws can be improved.


The major recommendations of the REPORT CARD are as follows: 
Since in most cases tobacco addiction begins before the age of 18 years, it is imperative to strictly enforce the ban on sale of tobacco to or by minors so that children and youth cannot have access to tobacco. Enforcing the existing law will have very positive public health outcomes as tobacco is the common risk factor for major non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart diseases, stroke, cancer, diabetes, respiratory illnesses among others. The children and youth that are sadly selling tobacco should be in schools in this age of “Right To Education (RTE) Act”. Very few tobacco shops display the signage that sale of tobacco to minors is banned.

The ban on sale of tobacco within 100 yards of any educational institution should be strictly enforced – this will limit access to tobacco for minors and delay (or reduce the chances of) the onset of tobacco addiction.

The sale of International brands of cigarettes in Lucknow such as Gudang Garam from Indonesia, Marlboro, Black and other brands without pictorial warnings – raises a serious question – if they are legally imported in India then they must abide by Indian tobacco control laws (such as print pictorial warnings in Indian languages as per Indian law) and if they are not legally imported then not only India is losing on health of its citizens but also on revenues. Is this tobacco smuggling? It is the responsibility of the authorities to find this out and take legal action as early as possible in interest of public health. We appeal to the government authorities to seize such tobacco and take appropriate action against those responsible. 

We need stronger laws to ensure that non-tobacco products with same brand name as that of tobacco products should not be allowed to advertise. For instance, most companies making chewing tobacco also sell non-tobacco containing ‘paan masala’ which is also hazardous to health. We need laws to stop advertisement of ‘paan masala’ and other non-tobacco products which have same brand names as that of tobacco products. When a person sees a brand, which product she or he associates it with, is very important. 

We need stronger laws to ensure that non-alcohol products with same brand name as that of alcohol products should not be allowed to advertise. We need laws to stop alcohol advertisements under the guise of any other non-alcohol product such as ‘soda water’, ‘music nights’, etc; which have same brand names as that of alcohol products. When a person sees a brand, which product she or he associates it with, is very important. 

Chewing gums must prominently display important information such as their ingredients, notices such as ‘not recommended for children’, etc. Font size should be proportionate to that of the brand name and such important information printed in clear, readable, legible, contrast colours, in English and other local vernacular languages.

Waste management in Lucknow should be done with very scientific and evidence based methods so as not to pose any immediate, short term or long term adverse impact to our environment or public health. Government ends up paying much more money in managing diseases borne out of poor sanitation and hygiene than the resources required for proper waste management.

This Rights and Responsibilities Summer Training Camp was jointly organized by Vote For Health campaign, Asha Parivar, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), The Movement of India, Sachchi Muchchi, and CNS (www.citizen-news.org). 

CNS


Published in:

Citizen News Service(CNS), India/Thailand
CNS Tobacco Control Initiative (CNS-JICL), Thailand/India
 StudiesToday.com
Spy Ghana News, Accra, Ghana

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