The Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan flagged off rally of nearly 300 school students against use of tobacco and tobacco products, at Nirman Bhavan, here today. The rally is part of the initiatives of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to commemorate the ‘World No Tobacco Day’, which is tomorrow. Referring to Sh Rahu Dravid who has been made the country’s ambassador for No-Tobacco, Dr Harsh Vardhan made a strong appeal to all the citizens of the country to be ambassadors in the war against tobacco. He stated that it is the common men and women who can be the champions and leaders in this fight, which has to be made a social movement.The Health Minister pointed out that tobacco use was the worst enemy not only of the country but of the entire humankind. He emphatically appealed to all users to take a pledge and make a strong resolve to give up the use of tobacco. He asked the citizens to motivate and educate the users on the ill effects of tobacco consumption. The Health Minister stated that tobacco use is fatal and said that he has seen many families been ruined and children orphaned due to the use by the elders in the family. He stated it is not the responsibility of any single person, but a collective responsibility of all the citizens to wipe out the use of tobacco in the country. He urged the country to demonstrate to the world that India has in all earnestness taken up the war against use of tobacco and will emerge a winner in this fight.
He urged everyone to spend two minutes of their time whenever they see anyone consume tobacco or smoke to educate them about its ill-effects. On the board put up outside Nirman Bhavan for people to record their messages against tobacco use, the Health Minister who was the first to record his message, wrote: “Tobacco Consumption=Death”. He said that tobacco use can lead to only death. Speaking at the function, Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that he was extremely happy that the movement against tobacco has been heralded by school children who are the most appropriate ambassadors of this movement. He recalled that it was school children who were the ‘sainiks’ in the fight against polio.
Flagging off the rally, Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that he was of the firm belief that next year when the country celebrates World No Tobacco Day, lakhs of countrymen who consume tobacco will have given it up. Health Secretary, Sh Lov Verma, stated that every 6 seconds someone in the world dies from tobacco use. He stated that the rally heralded the campaign against use of tobacco in the country, and needed the active participation of all for its success. School children from various schools in Delhi were accompanied by civil society organizations, and representatives from WHO and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI). Also present were senior officers from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.