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22 percent Indian TV programmes found depicting Tobacco are affecting Children

anti-tobacco messages are effective in countering the imagery of tobacco and prompting decision to quit

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New Delhi, Feb 10, 2017: Twenty-two per cent of the Indian television programmes have been found depicting tobacco and broadcasting them despite 71 per cent viewers being children and adolescents, a report revealed on Friday.

The report titled ‘Evaluation of Tobacco Free Film and Television Policy in India’ conducted by Vital Strategies and supported by World Health Organization (WHO) noted that the implementation of the rule under the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act was very low.

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The report added that anti-tobacco messages are effective in countering the imagery of tobacco and prompting decision to quit. It also called for better implementation of the act.

The film rule was legislated on October 2, 2012, and mandates that three forms of warning messages (anti-tobacco health spots, audio-visual disclaimers and static health warning messages) are broadcast when tobacco products, branding or use are shown in films and television programmes.

The study was conducted under the guidance of the Union Health Ministry. “An effective way of tobacco control would be to ingrain and indoctrinate the young minds, the children and the youths. If they could be weaned away from tobacco use, we believe that the battle is half won,” said Health Secretary C.K Mishra.

Present on the occasion, Nandita Murukutia, Country Director Vital Strategies, said: “The tobacco industry spends billions of dollars to mislead consumers by depicting tobacco use as glamorous or popular.”

According to Murukutia, when tobacco is depicted in films and TV Programmes, it’s doing the tobacco industry’s work for them. “Tobacco kills one million Indians every year and costs our economy $22.4 billion.

The objective of this study is to understand the importance of ‘film rule’ and the current gap in implementation,” said Murukutia. Murukutia urged the TV and film industry to recognise its responsibilities and work towards a tobacco-free culture. (IANS)

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WHO Vows For Broader Action Against Tobacco

To prevent further interference by tobacco industry in public health policies, the strategy requires parties to the treaty to protect national public health policies "from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry."

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WHO vows tighter, broader action against tobacco, industry interference.

The World Health Organization (WHO) unveiled a global strategy on Saturday to scale up the tobacco control agenda over the next few years and to prevent further interference by tobacco industry in public health policies.

The strategy, titled the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), aims to strengthen implementation of the WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC), with a roadmap to guide the work of the convention parties, the secretariat and other stakeholders with regards to tobacco control from 2019 to 2025, Xinhua reported.

“The adoption of this strategy marks a key milestone in strengthening the FCTC,” said Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, head of the WHO FCTC Secretariat. “This strategy provides a very clear path forward, with priorities and objectives to reinforce government policies and accelerate global action for more effective implementation of the tobacco control treaty.”

The strategy was concluded during the eighth session (COP8) of the FCTC, which brought together over 1,200 participants, including delegations from 148 parties to the global tobacco control treaty and representatives of UN agencies, other intergovernmental organisations and civil society.

They also agreed to maximize transparency to protect FCTC related sessions and proceedings from the intrusion of tobacco industry representatives and interests.

WHO
Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gives a news conference at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, VOA

“More than ever, we need to stay the course and strengthen our commitment to ensure that FCTC efforts to protect and promote public health and sustainable development are not hijacked by the tobacco industry,” Costa e Silva said. “We must yield no ground to the tobacco industry.”

To prevent further interference by tobacco industry in public health policies, the strategy requires parties to the treaty to protect national public health policies “from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry.”

In addition to tighter control actions, the parties also addressed the need for tobacco control efforts to integrate strategies to combat the destructive impacts of tobacco on the environment and sustainable development.

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Since it came into force in 2005, the FCTC has resulted in national strategies and legislation that have introduced health warning on packages of tobacco and comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

As the only existing global intergovernmental meeting exclusively devoted to tobacco control, the FCTC COP has served as a platform for policy formulation and the adoption of implementation mechanisms by the parties to the convention. (IANS)