Several steps have been taken by the Government to reduce the prevalence of tobacco use. Some of the major steps are as under;
- The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has enacted a comprehensive legislation, namely the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA 2003) to discourage the consumption of tobacco products in order to protect the masses from the health hazards attributable to tobacco use. The provisions under COTPA, 2003 and the Rules made thereunder mandates prohibition of smoking in public places; ban on sale of tobacco products to and by minors and within 100 yards of educational institutions; prohibition on direct and indirect advertising of tobacco products and mandatory display of specified health warnings.
- The National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) was launched by this Ministry in 2007- 08 with the aim to (i) create awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco consumption, (ii) reduce the production and supply of tobacco products, (iii) ensure effective implementation of the provisions under COTPA, 2003 (iv) help people quit tobacco use, and (v) facilitate implementation of strategies for prevention and control of tobacco advocated by WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control.
- The stakeholders are being made aware on a regular basis about the adverse effects of tobacco usage on health through various anti-tobacco campaigns vide different mode of communication.
- The Government of India has notified rules to regulate films and TV programmes depicting scenes of tobacco usage to spread awareness. Such films and TV programmes are statutorily required to run anti-tobacco health spots, disclaimers and static health warnings.
- Specified health warnings on tobacco products is enhanced w.e.f. 1st April, 2016 to 85% of the principal display area of tobacco product packs. Quitline number has been included in new specified health warnings with Quitline number which came into effect on 1st September, 2018.
- The Ministry has started National Tobacco Quitline to provide tobacco cessation services to the community and has launched a pan-India “mCessation” initiative to reach out to tobacco users who are willing to quit tobacco use and to support them towards successful quitting through text-messaging via mobile phones. Tobacco cessation centers have also been set up in Dental Colleges/Institutions across the country.
- Revised guidelines for Tobacco Free Educational Institutions (ToFEI) to implement Section-6 of COTPA, 2003 has been disseminated/implemented.
- The Government of India prohibited electronic cigarettes and like devices vide the Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Act, 2019.
- The Food Safety and Standards Regulations (FSSA) issued in 2011 under the Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006 lay down that tobacco and nicotine cannot be used as ingredients in Food Products.
- All tobacco products are covered under the highest slab i.e. 28% under Goods & Service Tax with an additional compensation cess, excluding bidis.
- In order to encourage tobacco workers to shift to alternative vocations, the Ministry of Labour& Employment, Government of India in collaboration with the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Government of India, has initiated ‘Skill Development’ programme for bidi rollers, to facilitate them to shift to alternative vocations.
- Department of Agriculture and Cooperation & Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, has extended Crop Diversification Programme (CDP), an on-going sub- scheme of Rashtriya KrishiVikasYojna (RKVY) to 10 tobacco growing States w.e.f 2015-16 to encourage tobacco growing farmers to shift to alternate crops/cropping systems.
As part of the Global Tobacco Surveillance System (GTSS), three rounds of Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) among 13-15 year-old school going children in 2003, 2006 and 2009 and two rounds of Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) among 15 years and above in 2009-10 and 2016-17 have been undertaken. These surveys are global standards for systematically monitoring adult and youth tobacco use (smoking and smokeless) and track the key tobacco control indictors.
The National Monitoring framework for Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD), stipulates relative reduction in prevalence of current tobacco use by 15% and 30% by 2020 and 2025 respectively, to the baseline levels of 2010. The National Health Policy (NHP), 2017 also reiterates the relative reduction of 15% in tobacco use by 2020 and of 30 percent by 2025, which is in line with the above Targets and Indicators under the NCD Frame Work.
As per the Report of the second round of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS-2), there has been 17.3% relative reduction in prevalence of tobacco use from 34.6% to 28.6% from 2009-10 to 2016-17. As such, the target set for 2020 has been achieved.
The Minister of State (Health and Family Welfare), Sh Ashwini Kumar Choubey stated this in a written reply in the Lok Sabha here today.