National Youth Day 2020 -Tobacco Intervention

National Youth Day 2020 -Tobacco Intervention

Every year National Youth Day is celebrated across India on 12th January to celebrate the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, to spread his ideas among the youth in our country. To remember his values and ideals, Consumer VOICE along with its state partners circulated a press note urging the government to implement the rules for Vendor Licensing to protect the youth from using tobacco products.Other than the harmful effects of tobacco, its use imposes enormous health and economic burden on the country.  Each year, over 1 million Indians die from tobacco-related diseases in India. Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2 (GATS 2) shows 28.6% adults consuming tobacco in some form or the other. Vendor licensing is authorizing a business to engage in tangible retail sales of tobacco from a shop, sidewalk stand, a pushcart, a shop, a motor vehicle which needs to be implemented to keep the younger generation from the influence of tobacco products. These will registered with municipalities and adhere to (Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act) COTPA Regulations.

In Goa Vendor Licensing has been adopted by the government, yet its implementation is left. National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE) and Consumer VOICE urged the government not to delay any further and implement it as soon as possible.

As per Mr. Ashim Sanyal, Chief Operating Officer, Consumer VOICE “Vendors sell cigarettes and bidis via single sticks, making these products cheap and accessible to children and youth. Selling of such products outside of educational institutes attracts the youth to get addicted. This move will surely curtail the tobacco consumption, he added.

In Gujarat, the government, Consumer VOICE along with Saher Jilla Grahak Suraksha Mandal, Rajkot urged the state government to adopt and implement vendor licensing across Gujarat so that the youth could be protected against the ill effects of tobacco. In Madhya Pradesh too National Centre for Human Settlements & Environment and Consumer VOICE has urged the government to implement Vendor Licensing in the state. Similarly in Tamil Nadu Consumers Association of India, Tamil Nadu is playing an active role in protecting the youth against the harmful effects of tobacco by asking the government ti quickly adopt Vendor Licensing and implement the same in the state.

Regional media of both the states provided good coverage and supported this important cause.

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Big Tobacco-Tiny Targets Survey State Dissemination in Gujarat

Big Tobacco-Tiny Targets Survey State Dissemination in Gujarat

Consumer VOICE, Delhi in collaboration with Rajkot Saher Jilla Grahak Suraksha Mandal, Gujarat, organized a Stakeholders’ dissemination workshop on ‘’Big Tobacco-Tiny Targets’’ study in four cities of Gujarat- Ahmedabad, Morbi, Rajkot and Jamnagar on 27th Feb, 12th March, 23rd March and 26thMarch 2019. A report which reveals how tobacco companies are systematically targeting children as young as eight years old in Gujarat by selling tobacco products and placing tobacco advertisements near schools premises.

Objectives

  • To gather additional evidence regarding tobacco products being sold around educational institutions
  • To assess COTPA compliance near educational institutions
  • To expose Tobacco Industry tactics which target children

 

Key finding of Gujarat:-

  • Majority of the vendors around schools sell tobacco products. (Investigators observed 50 points of sale selling tobacco products around schools. Street vendors were the most common form of vendors at 80% of the 50 tobacco points of sale observed.)
  • Multinational tobacco companies sell tobacco products around schools. (Investigators documented that, of the 50tobacco points of sale observed, 96% carried ITC brands and 84% carried Phillip Morris.
  • Vendors advertise tobacco products around schools.(Investigators observed tobacco advertising at all the 50 tobacco points of sale.)
  • Vendors sell cigarettes and bidis via single sticks, making these products cheap and accessible to children and youth. (Investigators observed single stick sales in 49 of the 50 tobacco points of sale observed).
  • Vendors display tobacco products in ways that are appealing to children and youth. (Investigators documented that, of the 50 tobacco points of sale observed, 92% of displays were at 1 meter – a child’s eye level; and 82% of displays were beside candy, sweets and toys – items marketed to children.)

Workshops were attended by various stakeholdersHon. Justice, Consumer Forum; Ex-President Nagar Palika; Hon. MLA &Ex Minister, Govt. of Gujarat; Representative from CSO; Hon. Mayor; Head from Tobacco Control Cell; Representative from educational institute;Students; Health experts; Media Representative; Activists working on tobacco control; Activists working on Consumer and Child right issues. Shri AnupsinhJadeja Ex-President Nagar Palika, Morbi mentioned in his speech that he always try to control tobacco product sale in Morbi district. He emphasis on the strong COTPA implementation.Shri Govindbhai Patel, Hon. MLA & Ex Minister, Govt. of Gujarat, Rajkot gave his assurance of that he will talk to the government for COTPA implementation. He said it’s our social responsibility to protect children from tobacco. Smt. NazmaHala – Head tobacco control cell, Jamnagar District presented advisory given by the Health Department of Gujarat state, She has given assurance to take a special report in the next tobacco control cell meeting organized by the Hon. Collector, as well as state government meeting organized by the Health Secretary, Gandhinagar.

Media Coverage

Tiny Target Fact sheet – Gujarat

Big Tobacco-Tiny Targets Survey State Dissemination in Assam

Big Tobacco-Tiny Targets Survey State Dissemination in Assam

Consumers’ Legal Protection Forum along with Consumer VOICE, New Delhi organised workshops for stakeholders in Assam  to disseminate the “Big Tobacco-Tiny Targets” survey report. The workshops were held in Guwahati, Dibrugarh and Jorhat where the survey was conducted. A report which reveals how tobacco companies are systematically targeting children as young as eight years old in the state of Assam by selling tobacco products and placing tobacco advertisements near schools premises.

Objectives

  • To gather additional evidence regarding tobacco products being sold around educational institutions
  • To assess COTPA compliance near educational institutions
  • To expose Tobacco Industry tactics which target children

 

Assam State -Key Study findings

 

  1. Nearly half of the vendors around schools sell tobacco products. (Investigators observed 34 points of sale selling tobacco products out of the 48 surveyed around schools.  Street and Mobile vendors were the most common form of vendors at 71% of the 34 tobacco points of sale observed.)
  2. Multinational tobacco companies sell tobacco products around schools. (Investigators documented that of the 34 tobacco points of sale observed, 82% carried ITC brands and 53% carried Phillip Morris.
  3. Vendors advertise tobacco products around schools.(Investigators observed tobacco advertising at 59% of the 34 tobacco points of sale observed.)
  4. Vendors sell cigarettes and bidis via single sticks, making these products cheap and accessible to children and youth. (Investigators observed single stick sales in 82% of the 34 tobacco points of sale observed).
  5. Vendors display tobacco products in ways that are appealing to children and youth. (Investigators documented that, of the 34 tobacco points of sale observed, 53% of displays were at 1 meter – a child’s eye level; 56% of the points of sale had no visible health warning; and 38% of displays were beside candy, sweets and toys – items marketed to children.)

The workshops were attended by around 250 various stakeholders including representatives from Municipal Corporation, Mayor, State Tobacco Control Cell, representative from Police Department, health experts, tobacco control officials, youth icons, officials from Municipal Corporation, students leaders, media, students, Resident Welfare Associations, CSOs and activists working on tobacco control, Consumer and Child right issues.

In the workshop, the speakers Dr Arundhuti Deka, State Nodal Officer, State Tobacco Control Cell, Govt. of Assam speaking on the “Role of Restricting tobacco sales to young people: Policy Advisory on Vendor Licensing.” Pratul Phukan, Rtd. DIG, Assam Police; Dr. Srabana Misra Bhagabaty, Associated Professor cum In-Charge Department of   Preventive Oncology, Dr. B. BOROOAH CANCER INSTITUTE; Ravi Shankar Ravi, Editor, Dainik Purvoday, Iqbal Ahmed, Senior Reporter, The Sentinel; Prakash Sarmah; Dwijendra Nath Borthakur, Retd. Principal of Sonaram H.S School, Guwahati; and Siddheswar Das, Senior Team Member, Child line.  All the speakers emphasized on urgent action from the Government agencies to stop tobacco companies from targeting children from aggressive advertising & selling of tobacco products around schools and stricter enforcement of COTPA rules prohibiting the selling and advertising of tobacco products within 100 yards of educational institutions.

This new report is not the first time the tobacco industry has been found targeting children, nor is it unique to India. However, the data is alarming because it documents a very systematic and widespread pattern of activity by tobacco companies to get young people addicted to tobacco.

For Media Coverage. Please Click Here

Tiny Target Fact sheet – Assam

State Level Workshop for Sensitization Of Stakeholders to Support Tobacco Vendor Licensing Vijaywada, Andhra Pradesh

State Level Workshop for Sensitization Of Stakeholders to Support Tobacco Vendor Licensing Vijaywada, Andhra Pradesh

The Consumer Guidance Society, Vijayawada in with  support from Consumer VOICE, New Delhi organised a state level workshop on tobacco control Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh on January 29, 2019. The main objective of the workshop was sensitization of stakeholders on tobacco control measures in Andhra Pradesh through vendor licensing.

The workshop was formally inaugurated by Dr. P.V.V.S. Murthy, Hon’rary President, The Federation of A.P. Consumer Organisations and Dr. T. Geeta Prasadini, Addl. Director, DPH &FW and Nodal Officer, NTCP and NOHP.

Dr. Ch. Divakar Babu, Secretary, Consumers Guidance Society in his introductory remarks has explained in brief about the overview of Tobacco Control in the State of Andhra Pradesh.  He stated that though the total per cent of people consuming tobacco and other allied products has come down from 28 per cent to 20 per cent but it is worrisome to notice that younger generation is being lured by tobacco manufacturers by their novel and deceptive surrogate ads and techniques and which needs to be curbed at the earliest.

Sri Amarjeet Singh Panghal, Advisor, Legal had made a power point presentation about the key findings of the study on Tobacco Vendors in the state.  He expressed his concern over lax enforcement of COTPA due to multifarious reasons, which include lack of awareness among stakeholders, deceptive novel methods adopted by tobacco manufacturing companies to lure especially younger generation into consuming their products , lack of co-ordination in between enforcement agencies and want of any licensing regime for sale of Tobacco and allied products. Hence, he strongly advocated for compulsory license of tobacco vendors.

The key findings of survey are:

  • The density of tobacco vendors is too high in both commercial and residential areas and there is no record available of tobacco vendors. We found 381 tobacco vendors in 6 wards/areas of 3 cities of Andhra Pradesh namely Tirupati, Vijaywada and Vishakhapatnam.
  • Tobacco vendors are violating COTPA.
  • Mandatory warning display board was not found in 82 % point of sale.
  • Tobacco products are displayed openly in 61% cases.
  • Sale of loose cigarettes is rampant 98%, which frustrate purpose of pictorial warning at package.
  • 89 % tobacco vendors were found Selling candy, chips etc. the products meant for and to attract children/youth to tobacco shops.

The inaugural session was followed by two panel discussions.  The first panel discussion was on the role of media in tobacco control.   M. Syam Sundar, Bureau chief, Hans India in his speech expressed his firm opinion that print and electronic media has a monumental role to play in promoting health and welfare of people.  Hence, he opined that media should disseminate authentic information about the ill-effects of consumption of tobacco products to the people in order to enable the latter to exercise their informed choices.

N.Jaya Prakash, Andhra Pradesh working Journalists Union has opined that media should sensitise public about the detrimental effects of consumption of tobacco on health and longevity of consumers.
The second panel discussion was on the subject “Needs and strategies for protecting the young generation from the menace of tobacco.  The experts in the second session were Dt.T.Geeta Prasadini, Addl. Director, Department of Public Health & Family Welfare, Dr. S. Bhavana, Reader, Dept of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Dr.E.Prasanth, MDS, Programme Officer, NTCP &NOHP, Dr. H.Kalyan Rao, Asst. Professor and Sri N. Poornachandra Rao, AFC&DO Food Safety and Standards Administration.

The experts dwelt at length on what needs to be done to protect younger generation from the menace of tobacco .The common theme advocated and articulated by the experts participating in the discussion was that compulsory vendor license is a pragmatic idea to be worth implemented to keep the younger generation from the influence of Tobacco Products.  The other important suggestions and recommendations made by the experts were;
(1)  Surrogate advertisement in any form should be strictly banned.

(2)  COTPA should be strictly implemented by the enforcement agencies

(3)  Awareness about the provisions of COTPA should be generated by designing and adopting multi-pronged approach.

(4)  Young generation should be properly sensitized about the harmful effects of Tobacco and allied products by formulating and designing specific plans towards children and youth.

(6)  Vendor licence for Tobacco Vendors should be seriously pursued for ensuring its implementation at the ground level. The positive signs made by the Municipal Administration in response to the advocacy efforts of Consumers Guidance Society by issuing a specific letter must be fully utilised to make co-ordinated efforts for achieving the same.

After the conclusion of two panel discussions, the floor was thrown open for comments and suggestions of the participants. Around 60 participants including health experts, municipal corporation officials, tobacco control activists,  media persons, CSOs  enthusiastically took part in the deliberations and gave their valuable suggestions.

Media Coverage

Media Coverage

State Level Workshop for Sensitization Of Stakeholders to Support Tobacco Vendor Licensing Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

State Level Workshop for Sensitization Of Stakeholders to Support Tobacco Vendor Licensing Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

National Centre for Human Settlements & Environment (NCHSE) with support from Consumer VOICE, New Delhi  organised a state level workshop on tobacco control issues (vendor licensing) in Bhopal, on January 21, 2019.

At the start of the programme Dr Pradip Nandi, Director General briefly spoke about the magnitude of tobacco consumption in India and Madhya Pradesh and their health impacts, especially on youth. He stressed that despite Government of India issuing advisory to the states for the enforcement of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003, its implementation is poor.

The key findings of the survey which were done in Bhopal, Indore and Gwalior, were presented by Mr. Amarjeet Singh Panghal , Advisor Legal & Projects, Consumer VOICE:

  • The density of tobacco vendors is too high in both commercial and residential areas and there is no record available of tobacco vendors. There were 408 tobacco vendors in 6 wards/areas of 3 cities of Madhya Pradesh (Bhopal, Gwalior & Indore).
  • Tobacco vendors are violating COTPA.
  • Mandatory warning display board was not found at 62% point of sale.
  • Sale of loose cigarettes is rampant (97%), which frustrates the purpose of pictorial warning over the package.
  • 84 % tobacco vendors were found selling candy, chips etc. the products meant for and to attract children/youth to tobacco shops.
  • Tobacco products were displayed openly amounting to advertisements. Besides, tobacco advertisements were found at several point of sale.

 

The main recommendations of the study are as follows:

  • Need to strengthen enforcement of COTPA and JJ Act and to include public/CSOs in monitoring.
  • Municipal authorities should implement the MOHFW’s advisory dated 21st September 2017 and recent Union Ministry of Urban Development Advisory dated 28th September, 2018 to all states for licensing tobacco vendors through State Municipal Laws. Licensing can reduce vendor numbers and can prescribe where tobacco products are sold. Regulating tobacco vendors can aid COTPA enforcement, increase municipal revenue and save children from tobacco trap.
  • Need proper implementation of the order issued by the Department of Urban Development and Housing (MP) to all Municipal Bodies in the states to ensure COTPA compliance and licensing of tobacco vendors on 20 Sept. 2018.
  • Tobacco companies should be made accountable for violations at point of sale.
  • State need to develop comprehensive action plan to fight tobacco menace.

Shri Malika Nagar, Additional Commissioner, Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) admitted that there is illegal selling of tobacco products especially in slum areas of Bhopal. She informed that BMC grants only limited licenses and is also taking several measures to restrict selling of tobacco products to the children/youth below the age of 18 years. Zonal Officers have been entrusted with the responsibility of monitoring of compliance of COTPA.

During the Panel Discussion on the needs and strategies for protecting young generation from the menace of tobacco, Dr. S.K. Saxena, Former CMHO & Civil Surgeon, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh stressed that there should be complete ban on production of tobacco as well strict enforcement of existing regulatory measures.

Shri Chandra Kant Naidu, Senior Journalist opined that ban of production or sale of tobacco product may not solve the growing problems related to tobacco consumption. He also stressed on the need for creating awareness among the youth and other stakeholders to make the restrictions on tobacco control meaningful.

During the discussion with the participants, it emerged that the advisory issued by the government of Madhya Pradesh for urban local bodies on 20th September 2018 is only for the urban areas. State Government has ignored the rural areas.

Around 60 participants took part in the workshop. Health experts, tobacco control officials, youth icons, officials from Municipal Corporation, student leaders, media persons, students, CSOs and including activists working on tobacco control, Consumer and Child right issues actively attended the workshop.

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