Additional Chief Secretary (Health) B.K Agarwal today released the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) Report of Himachal Pradesh. GATS is a systematic way of monitoring the use of tobacco among adults and to detect the main component to control the use of tobacco.The first phase of GATS survey was conducted in the year 2009 -10, under the supervision of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, while its second phase lasted till the end of 2017. This survey has been conducted in 30 different states of the country and Himachal has achieved remarkable achievement and been ranked 6th highest decline in tobacco use, which has been reduced by about 24 percent.Additional Chief Secretary said that complete control over tobacco is a daunting task, as it is one of the most heavily used addictive product. We can reduce its use with substantial efforts. He expressed satisfaction over the fact that Shimla was declared the First Tobacco Free City in the country and soon after entire Himachal has been declared tobacco free. He said that we are not only going to continue the sequence but instead we will be making more efforts to reduce its use.He said that it is conspicuous that tobacco is harmful for health but its production has not been successfully reduced which is definitely a matter of concern. He said there is need to make common masses aware that tobacco has devastating harmful effects on overall health. He said that we also need to spread knowledge about the availability solution to reduce deaths and diseases caused due to tobacco consumption among large section of society. In order to spread awareness Department of Health, Police, Non Government Organizations, Panchayati Raj Institutions and the media are continuously working very hard. He said that the amount of Rs 1.50 crore was collected through challans of 1.30 lakh people and this amount will be spent on Tobacco Control Programs in the state. He said that the aim of State Government is to make the H. P Secretariat and University campus completely tobacco free, so that the other institutions of the state can follow them too. He said that work is being done to save the youth from the state.
Dr. Alok Ranjan, who came from Mumbai's Tata Institution of Social Sciences, gave a detailed presentation on GATS report. He said that 16 percent of people in Himachal Pradesh are consuming tobacco whereas this is 28.6 percent in the country. Lot of people are consuming bidi and around 70 lakh people die every year from tobacco worldwide. Tobacco damages every organ of our body. Smokeless tobacco keeps the risk of lung cancer, while the consumption of other products leads to throat cancer.State Program Officer Dr. Gopal Chauhan gave a detailed presentation on the progress made in tobacco control and promotion in Himachal Pradesh. He said that our goal is to bring down the number of people consuming tobacco below 10 percent. He said that the media has been a major contributor to attain this achievement in the state. He said that use of bidi-cigarettes in public places in the state is totally prohibited and challans are done for violation. He said that it is illegal to sell tobacco products within 100 meters of the educational institutions. Similarly, there is a ban on selling to minors and open cigarettes.Director Health Services Dr. Baldev Thakur welcomed the chief guest. He said that it is our goal to make Himachal Pradesh Tobacco free. He urged the common man, especially the youth to contribute in this work. He called upon the youth to stay away from narcotics and make their lives successful. He said that any goal can be achieved with strong will.Mission Director National Health Mission, Chief Medical Officers of different districts, Representatives of doctors, Volunteer Organizations and Members of the media were also present in this occasion.