Rahul Dravid

Rahul Dravid © AFP

New Delhi: Sep 5, 2013

The Union Health Ministry on Thursday announced former Indian cricket team captain Rahul Dravid as brand ambassador for its National Tobacco Control Campaign.

India has been committed towards strengthening its national tobacco control efforts as well as contribute towards tobacco control, additional secretary MoHFW C K Mishra said while making the announcement today.

“Despite effective, evidence-based tobacco control policies, smoking continues. India played a leading role in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) negotiations and has been striving to implement more tobacco control measures,” Mishra said.

It is only through collective resolve of governments, world leaders, development partners and civil society, we can save lives, protect and preserve the health of future generations from harmful effects of tobacco use, he said.

“The national anti-tobacco control campaign has to go on till we achieve desired results,” Mishra said.

With World Health Assembly adopting a target of 30 per cent relative reduction in tobacco use by 2025, the global narrative on tobacco control is increasingly exploring the concept of ‘tobacco endgame’, aimed at reducing tobacco availability to minimal levels.

“Since tobacco also degrades the environment, actions to reduce the production and marketing of tobacco must also now be vigorously pursued alongside effective implementation of demand reduction measures,” he said.

“The Centre has taken a lead in implementing the WHO FCTC and we remain committed to supporting its endeavours,” said Dr Nata Menabde, WHO Country Representative for India.

With support from the MoHFW and World Health Organisation, Public Health Foundation of India and Health Related Information Dissemination Amongst Youth is organising the International Conference on “Public Health Priorities in the 21st Century: The Endgame for Tobacco” from September 10 to 12 in which nearly 500 participants from over 50 countries will come together to deliberate and present actionable strategies in fighting the global tobacco epidemic.