Goverment kicks off campaign against bidis

July 28th, 2011 - 8:52 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 28 (IANS) The government Thursday launched a nationwide campaign through the mass media to make people aware of the ill-effects of smoking bidis, an official said.

Developed with technical support from NGO World Lung Foundation (WLF), the campaign consists of two public service announcements in 14 regional languages which will be aired on television and radio for a month, starting Aug 1.

“This is the first government sponsored campaign anywhere in the world that links bidi smoking to heart disease. As bidis are manufactured and consumed majorly in Asia, so we had to take the lead,” B.K. Prasad, joint secretary in the health ministry, said.

To deter youngsters from taking to smoking, he said revised notification on sale of tobacco in the vicinity of schools and colleges has been introduced, fixing accountability on the government as well as society.

“State police, teachers and principals, health inspectors and members of panchayats have all been assigned with the job of curbing tobacco sale to students,” said Keshav Desiraju, additional secretary of the health ministry.

Quoting the Central Tobacco Research Institute, officials said that by 2030, cultivation of cheaper tobacco used in bidis would be completely curbed while the more expensive one, used in cigarettes would be cut down by 50 percent.

But it was equally important to rehabilitate tobacco cultivators, said Desiraju.

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