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Telangana Declares All Health Facilities ‘Tobacco Free’

Moving towards making Telangana a ‘Tobacco Free’ State, the Commissioner, Health & Family Welfare, has directed all District Medical Health Officers to ensure that all healthcare institutions under their jurisdiction are declared tobacco-free healthcare institutions.

Declaring that its health facilities will be ‘Tobacco Free’, the Health Department also asked all other key departments to take action against violators of the Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) in and around health institutions in the state. Section 4 of COTPA prohibits smoking in public places.

All healthcare institutions have to comply with the directions to implement provisions of COTPA, the Commissioner (Health) said, adding that all DMHOs have to ensure effective implementation of the Act by displaying two signages as per the law in every health facility in the district.

Issuance of such an order would not only help bring in awareness against public smoking, but also protect people from the menace of second hand smoke, a major contributor of pulmonary diseases, a press release from the department said.

The Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) India 2009 – 10, released by Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, conveyed that 17.8 percent of adults (15 years and above) in Telangana use tobacco in some form or other. 8.3 percent are cigarette smokers, 4.2 percent are bidi smokers and 5.2 percent are smokeless tobacco users.

Pointing out that tobacco alone was responsible for 1.5 lakh cancers, 4.2 million heart diseases, 3.7 million lung diseases every year in India, officials said Telangana had come a long way in controlling the use of tobacco.

There were also efforts being made by the Health Department to generate awareness and build capacity of the public place managers, enforcement officials, and to sensitize media and generate awareness among common people on tobacco control issues. – Telangana Today