J P Nadda, the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare was conferred the WHO Director-General’s Special Recognition Award for global tobacco control on 8 June 2017.
The global recognition award was presented to him by Poonam Khetrapal Singh, the Regional Director of WHO’s South-East Asia division at the ‘National Consultation on Accelerating Implementation of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) for the achievement of SDGs’.
Also present at the occasion were Ministers of State for Health & Family Welfare, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Anupriya Patel.
Speaking on the occasion, J P Nadda said that the award recognises the collective endeavour of the Ministry, members of NGO, social activists, civil society organizations and many more who in their own ways contributed to the cause across the country.
Nadda said that Tobacco, a prime driver of poverty, has been rightly identified as a development issue. In India, tobacco users have reduced by 81 lakhs and youth consumption of tobacco has also seen a marked decrease.
Nadda further stated that his prime focus has always been on youth and there has been a 54% relative reduction in the prevalence of tobacco use among minors (15-17 years) and 28% reduction in the age group of 18-24 years. Further, the age of initiation among youth has also increased by one year.
Measures taken for tobacco control
• The Ministry implemented large pack warnings with 85% pictorial health warnings on both the sides.
• It conducted a second round of Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS).
• It strengthened & upscaled cessation facilities with the launch of the toll-free national tobacco Quitline and mCessation services.
• The government also made substantial investment under the 12th Five Year Plan for expansion of National Tobacco Control Programme, which was recognized by WHO as a best practice in its Global Tobacco Control report, 2015.
• India also announced a ban on smokeless tobacco products and strengthened the implementation of the Tobacco-Free film and television policy.