Health ministry launches national campaign against second-hand smoking

Last Updated 23 March 2018, 04:49 IST

The health ministry has come out with a 30-second Public Service Announcement (PSA), as a part of a national campaign to sensitise people about the harms of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke.

"Clinical", the 30-second PSA, reveals how exposure to second-hand smoke causes stroke and heart disease among non-smokers and encourages smokers to protect others by quitting smoking.

It is the first national tobacco control mass media campaign to promote a "quit smoking" helpline, said Vital Strategies which provided technical assistance for this campaign.

The PSA will be broadcast in 17 languages over a period of three weeks on the channels of public service broadcasters Doordarshan and All India Radio for pan-India reach.

The campaign will also run on major digital media platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Hotstar and Voot, it said.

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), India, 2017, there has been a reduction in exposure to SHS in India since 2009-2010 (the time of the last GATS India report), but a large proportion of adults and children are still exposed to this invisible killer.

Exposure to SHS in public spaces reduced from 29 percent to 23 percent and exposure at home reduced from 52 percent to 39 percent, but exposure in the workplace rose marginally from 29.9 percent to 30.2 percent, the survey said.

Fully comprehensive smoke-free laws, with no exemptions, are more effective in protecting smokers and non-smokers, it said.

"There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke, but many people don't know about this invisible killer,' said Dr Nandita Murukutla, Vice President, Global Policy and Research, Vital Strategies.

"We expect the campaign will be highly effective in changing knowledge and behaviours around the health risks of second-hand smoke," he said.

"It will increase support for strong enforcement of India's smoke-free laws, increase traffic to the national quitline and Cessation website at the National Health Portal, and help to discourage people from consuming tobacco in any form," Murukutla said.

(Published 23 March 2018, 04:38 IST)

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