‘Rajasthan Model’ in tobacco control to be adopted by other states

Jaipur, May 19 (IANS) The Central government has asked the States/UTs to undertake special drives on the lines of the Rajasthan government and follow the “Rajasthan Model” for tobacco control.

State Health Minister Parsadi Lal Meena said that on the directions of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, a 100-day special drive was launched in February 2022 which will culminate on World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) on May 31. Health is the top priority of the Rajasthan government and it is a matter of pride that the Centre has appreciated the ‘Rajasthan Model’ in tobacco control, he added.

Health Secretary Dr Prithvi said that the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in a letter dated May 18, 2022, to all the senior officers of the health departments across the country has asked them to undertake special drives in all States/UTs for enforcement of provisions of the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act 2003 (COTPA 2003), as has been done in Rajasthan. Such drives may be planned on the WNTD or may be launched on the WNTD.

Health Department Joint Director, National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) and Nodal Officer Dr SN Dholpuria said that tobacco consumption in the state has reduced by around 8%.

According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-5 (2019-21) men who use any kind of tobacco (15 years and above) are 42%, while in NFHS-4 (2015-16) it was 46.9%. He said that the state-level programme will be organised jointly by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Health Department at Birla Auditorium on WNTD on May 31.

Various awareness programmes on tobacco control are being organised in this 100-day special campaign from the village to the state level. Debates, painting and other competitions were organised in the schools in villages across the state, then winners at the village level competed at the block level and winners at the block level will compete at the district level and the winners at the district level will compete at the state level on May 21. The final winners will be felicitated on May 31 at the state-level programme. More than 9.83 lakh people were penalised on May 1 by launching a mega drive against people using tobacco products in public places across the state on the direction of the health minister, he said.

Signages were put up at medical institutions and committees were formed to check tobacco consumption, people are being made aware about the ill-effects of using tobacco and a penalty was imposed under COTPA, 2003. The Education Department is making efforts to make all the educational institutions certified as tobacco free. The Village Health, Sanitation and Nutrition Committees (VHSNC) in their respective villages are creating awareness about the ill-effects of tobacco use, along with taking out rallies and writing slogans. The best performer will be felicitated at the state-level function, Dr Dholpuria added.

The NTCP Nodal Officer said that Health Minister Meena wrote a letter to all the elected representatives across the state to take part in the meetings and awareness programmes in their respective areas and inspire people to stay away from tobacco.

Rajasthan has been doing quite well in the field of tobacco control. Rajasthan’s Health Department was selected by the World Health Organisation for the ‘World No Tobacco day Aware for 2019’ for its contribution in tobacco control. Rajasthan’s health department was one of the two from India, in the South-East Asian Region.