New Delhi: A number of organisations, including the Indiam Medical Association, have appealed to the Delhi government to observe a dry tobacco day on May 31 by completely banning sale of all tobacco products on that day.
World No Tobacco Day is observed across the globe on May 31 every year. It is aimed at encouraging people to abstain from consuming tobacco for 24 hours and raising awareness about the hazardous effects of tobacco consumption on a person’s health and well-being.
The Delhi Medical Council, Heart Care Foundation of India and IMA have recommended a complete ban on the sale of all tobacco products including cigarettes, gutka, hookah and e-cigarettes for a period of 24 hours.
They wrote a letter to Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain in this regard. A copy has also been marked to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
“Several days of relevance including Gandhi Jayanti on 2nd October are observed as dry days in India with a complete ban on the sale of liquor for 24 hours. Then why not observe May 31 as a dry tobacco day. The increasing consumption of tobacco products by a younger population in Delhi and subsequent rise in the cases of cancer, heart disease, and respiratory ailments are a point of concern for the medical fraternity,” said Dr Arun Gupta, President of DMC.
The average age of initiation of tobacco use in India is 19 years and three months. The need of the hour is to raise mass level awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco consumption and take necessary steps to curb its use, he added.
“We hope to see Delhi as the first city in the world to implement a complete ban on the sale of all tobacco products on World No Tobacco Day and to set an example for other states and countries,” said Dr KK Aggarwal, President HCFI and Secretary General of IMA.
Tobacco use is responsible for nearly 6 million deaths each year worldwide, 600,000 of which are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. According to the recently-released Global Adult Tobacco Survey, about 35 per cent of the adults in India consume tobacco in some form or the other.
The estimated number of tobacco users in India is 27.5 crore, with 16.37 crore users of smokeless tobacco, 6.9 crore only smokers and 4.23 crore users of both smoking and smokeless tobacco.