Corporate leaders pledge to make work places smoke free

March 9th, 2009 - 6:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, March 9 (IANS) Corporate leaders from 60 companies came together here Monday, not for a business meet, but to pledge to make work places smoking free.
At least 19 companies signed a commitment to make their work places smoking free in the presence of union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss at the 14th World Conference on Tobacco or Health here.

The corporate leaders also participated in a symposium on ‘Corporate Leaders Meet on Worksite Wellness Initiatives: Promoting Smoke Free Workplaces in India’.

The anti-tobacco law came into effect in the country Oct 2, 2008. The rules mandates that all public places, including government offices, public and private offices be smoking free.

The Public Health Foundation of India and HRIDAY are partnering with companies and providing them resources to help and comply with smoke-free policy.

“Smoking at work places leads to an increase in the number of sick leaves taken by an employee, increases the health care costs by about 18 percent, besides more occupational stress on smokers,” said Shyam Pingle, a doctor and president of Indian Association of Occupational Health.

Ashish Contractor, a doctor with the Asian Heart Institute, said: “Cigarette smoking and tobacco consumption significantly increases risk of heart disease, stroke and several types of cancer. It is one of the leading preventable causes of death worldwide.”

The 14th World Conference on Tobacco or Health - the largest meet of anti-tobacco advocates, health experts, scientists and educators - began in Mumbai Sunday. It is the first time the event is being held in India.

More than 2,000 delegates from across the world are attending the conference at the National Centre for Performing Arts. It will end March 12.

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