Ramadoss calls for Framework Convention on Alcohol Control

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New Delhi, Jul 29 (UNI) Pointing out the harmful health impact of alcohol, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss today called for setting up a 'Framework Convention on Alcohol Control' similar to that on tobacco and observing October 2 as the 'World No Alcohol Day'.

Addressing the IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) Health Ministers meeting here, Dr Ramadoss said that this was necessary as even the WHO has recognised that harmful drinking was among the foremost underlying cause of diseases, domestic violence against women and children, disability, social problems and pre-mature deaths.

In India, there are 62.5 million alcohol users and their numbers are increasing rapidly while the age of initiation to alcohol has gone down from 19 years in 1986 to 13.5 years in 2006.

More than 50 per cent of all drinkers in India satisfy the criterion for hazardous drinking, he pointed out.

To unequivocally publicise the health risks connected with the harmful use of alcohol and give active support to prevent all associated problems, he proposed observing a 'World No Alcohol Day' on 2nd October every year to mark the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, one of the strongest proponents of alcohol abstinence.

The Framework Convention on Alcohol Control should be similar to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control under which India has taken a number of steps to prevent the use of tobacco and its products. Apart from enacting a strong anti-tobacco law, the country is now in the process of launching a national programme on tobacco control that would facilitate the implementation of the national laws and fast track the tobacco control initiatives by highlighting the serious adverse health consequences of tobacco consumption to the society, especially the youth and children.

Pointing out increasing burden of non-communicable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases, he said that together with tobacco and alcohol, physical inactivity and unhealthy diets like junk food are the common risk factors associated with these diseases. To control these disease use of alcohol, tobacco and junk food should be checked and yoga be integrated in the school curriculum.

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