Members of Parliament Urge for Tobacco Free Environment for Children; 500 children from various schools and slums participated

Bhubaneswar: Considering the grave scenario of tobacco impact on children, People’s Cultural Centre (PECUC), a leading voluntary organization of Odisha, in cooperation with Coalition for Tobacco Free Odisha has organized a program on ‘Children’s Right to Tobacco Free Environment’ at Ekamra Haat, Bhubaneswar on the occasion of Child Rights Week. The objective of the program is to protect children from second-hand smoke exposure, tobacco industry marketing and smoking initiation by making the environment of children free from tobacco.

Hon’ble MP, Rajya Sabha, Muzibulla Khan and Hon’ble MP, Rajya Sabha, Sulata Deo, along with other dignitaries Ranjit Singh , Advocate, Supreme Court and Dr. G. S Mishra, State Consultant to Directorate of Public Health, Tobacco control, graced the occasion. Ranjan Kumar Mohanty, Secretary, PECUC gave welcome address and introductory note and Anuradha Mohanty, Executive Director, PECUC gave vote of thanks. As many as 500 children from various schools and slums participated to take oath against tobacco in the program and Lakina Swain, President Adolescent Group, also spoke on behalf of children.

Highlighting impact of tobacco among children, Muzibulla (Munna) Khan, Hon’ble MP of Rajya Sabha, said, “Tobacco is very hazardous to health. These days children are seen consuming tobacco as it is easily available. They are the future of our nation and protecting them from such hazard is protecting the future. We need to ensure that the children are away from this.” He also advised children to oppose anyone taking tobacco in families, schools and public places.

Expressing the importance of tobacco free environment for children, Sulata Deo, Hon’ble MP of Rajya Sabha, said, “Children are like clay and they will learn the way we teach them, so we should avoid taking tobacco in front of children. The digital and OTT platforms are promoting the use of tobacco as there is no sensor. We have to save our children from getting addicted to tobacco, as they mostly get hooked to the habit of tobacco at the school level we should take this campaign against the harmful substance on a war footing at the school level. We also have to protect our children against secondhand smoke exposure.”

Especially children aged between 3 to 11 years are more vulnerable and likely to suffer from prolonged, repeated exposure to smoke which results in causing more bronchitis and pneumonia to them. As per, Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) estimates and national census population projections for 2020, nearly half (46.5%) of the children <15 years of age were exposed to second hand smoke in their homes in India which extrapolates to nearly an estimated 170 million.

Children have the right to be protected from the tobacco industry, i.e. not to be exploited in tobacco cultivation, to live in a smoke-free environment that protects them from secondhand smoke as well as from starting to smoke themselves, and to have access to smoking cessation support if they have become addicted to tobacco.


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