Call to include chapter on tobacco control in school curriculum


The Delhi’s State Tobacco Control Cell has asked the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to include a chapter on tobacco control in school curriculum to create awareness about tobacco-related diseases. The call for the inclusion does not come as a surprise as 82,000–99,000 children and adolescents across the world begin smoking every day, according to the World Bank report in 1999. tobacco control in school curriculum

About 50% of them will continue to smoke to adulthood and half of the adult smokers would die prematurely due to diseases related to tobacco abuse. There are 2.4 billion people under the age group of 18 years who are smoking. In India, tobacco products are available for 300 smoking as well as smokeless use.

Jagat Prakash Nadda, former Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare in the Second Round of Global Adult Tobacco Survey (2016-17) said the target was to reduce tobacco use by 30% by 2025.

The Union Health Ministry on the World No Tobacco Day on May 31, 2019 focused the nation’s view on the alarming condition of tobacco usage in educational institutions by asking educational institutions, especially secondary schools, to designate ‘tobacco monitors’ from among students (from Class IX) and staff in a bid to boost the implementation of tobacco control initiatives among adolescents.

Guidelines for ‘Tobacco-free Educational Institutions’:

  • The ministry will award a ‘TOFEI’ (Tobacco free educational institution) certificate to institutions following the norms
  • No selling of tobacco products inside premises and in an area within 100 yards from the premises
  • A TOFEI must not participate in any event sponsored by any firm which promotes the use of or manufactures or sells any forms of tobacco products
  • Management and tobacco monitors must be vigilant to note tobacco substitutes
  • Organise assemblies, poster/slogan/quiz/debate competitions and street plays and awarding certificates of appreciation or awards to students, teachers or other staff
  • Schools in Delhi without tobacco-free zone may lose CBSE recognition
  • Display signs calling for no tobacco use in the form of boards or wall paints

“Tobacco use is the gateway of other drug addictions. As far as tobacco consumption among school staff/personnel is concerned, nearly three in ten school personnel currently use tobacco products,” stated Dr S K Arora, Delhi state tobacco control officer.

Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2 revealed:

  • 28.6 percent (266.8 million) of adults in India, aged 15 and above currently use tobacco in some form.
  • Among the adults 24.9 percent (232.4 million) are daily tobacco users
  • 3.7 percent (34.4 million) are occasional users

From GATS-1 (2009-10) to GATS-2 (2016-17), prevalence of any form of tobacco in India has decreased significantly from 34.6% to 28.6%, and proportion of households in which smoking is allowed, has decreased from 60.4% to 48.8%. But records of raids conducted show that around 10 per cent and 15 per cent schools in Delhi failed to stick on to tobacco-control norms. To cope with this, the Delhi State Tobacco Control Department has asked CBSE and the Director of Education, Delhi, to withdraw recognition to any school that does not display the contact details of the nodal officer of the respective institute to call with complaints against people breaking the law.

On violation:

  • A fine of Rs 200 will be imposed
  • Subsequent violations will attract fines of Rs 500
  • The tobacco cell is authorised to challan the nodal officer and the head of the institution, if no action is taken

  •  1 in 8 (12.2%) daily tobacco user aged 20-34 – started smoking before age 15 years
  •   More than one-third (35.8%) of all daily smokers – started smoking before turning 18

“The law has been in place in Delhi under the Delhi Act for 21 years and under the central Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act for nearly 14 years, and if there are schools that still fail compliance it is a shame,” added Dr Arora. Strict steps are being taken but it is yet to see how schools cope up with the norms and bring about a positive change in the scenario.

Global Adult

  • 28.6 percent (266.8 million) of adults in India, aged 15 and above currently use tobacco in some form.
  • Among the adults 24.9 percent (232.4 million) are daily tobacco users
  • 3.7 percent (34.4 million) are occasional users

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