Nagaland: Socially tolerated tobacco use sparks concern

Kohima: In Nagaland, the prevalence of tobacco consumption is high, and the socially tolerated use of tobacco products has raised concern among health officials.

During the State level workshop on World Health Organization (WHO)’s Framework Convention on tobacco control FCTC Article 5.3 policy implementation at Hotel De Oriental on Friday, Joint secretary to the department of Health & Family Welfare, Renabomo Odyuo, pointed out that the state’s tobacco menace is exacerbated by the social acceptability of tobacco consumption.

At the event organised by the State Tobacco Control Cell (STCC), Odyuo released the state level policy in line with World Health Organization Framework convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Article 5.3.

The health official highlighted that the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS-2) and Global Tobacco Youth survey-4 (GYTS-4) consistently showed that Nagaland continues to be one of the highest tobacco consumer state, particularly for the age group from 12-15 years and adults above 15 years of age.

To combat this menace, he said that the State government notified the constitution of an empowered committee, notified Healthcare establishments-both government and private as ‘Tobacco Free’ zones including all offices under DH&FW.

Educational institutions have been declared as tobacco free zones where teachers have been empowered in their jurisdiction to act as enforcement officers for COTPA 2003 Sec 6 (b) violation, and to regulate the sale of tobacco within 100 meters of the educational institutions.

Technical advisor-STOP, The Union South East Asia office, Dr Shivam Kapoor, delivered the keynote address on code of conduct adopted by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and the way forward for its smooth implementation and was also the technical expert during the workshop.

State nodal officer for NTCP, Dr Arenla Walling informed that the National Tobacco Control (NTCP) was launched in Nagaland in the year 2008-2009 in two districts, Kohima and Dimapur. At present, there are District Tobacco Control Cell (DTCC) of NTCP in 11 (eleven) districts.

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Commonly used tobacco products in Nagaland are pan masala with tobacco (21.1%); betel quid with tobacco (17.5%); khaini (10.1%); bidi & cigarette (9.9%); and gutka (9.2%).

At present, there are 43.3% tobacco users, 39% smokeless users; 13.2% smokers. There are 358 tobacco free schools, 26 tobacco free colleges, 28 tobacco free villages, 137 tobacco free homes, and 12 tobacco free police stations.

Also Read | What’s driving the high prevalence of cancer in Nagaland? 

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