Ghulam Nabi Azad suggests moving farmers out of tobacco industry

New Delhi, Oct 19 (ANI): Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday said that while the livelihood of tobacco growing farmers cannot be endangered, we must work towards moving farmers and farm workers out of the tobacco industry.

Releasing the report of the first Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS)-India here, Azad said: 'We cannot indefinitely tolerate a public health hazard in the name of protecting livelihoods.'

Emphasizing the need for inter-sectoral coordination for comprehensive tobacco control strategies, Azad informed about collaborations with agriculture ministry for a project on alternative crops to tobacco and coordination with other stakeholders ministries such as Human Resource Development, Information and Broadcasting, Rural Development and Labour Ministry.

GATS India provides information on both, tobacco smoking and use of smokeless tobacco along with varied dimensions of tobacco use including use of different tobacco products, frequency of use, age at the time of initiation and the like.

Additionally the report throws light on the other aspects of tobacco use like, exposure to second-hand smoke; cessation; the economies of tobacco; exposure to media messages on tobacco use; and knowledge of health impact of tobacco use.

India is the second largest consumer of tobacco products and third largest producer of tobacco in the world.

The Adult Tobacco Survey (ATS) is an important component of the country's comprehensive tobacco control programme and reflects an efficient and systematic surveillance mechanism to monitor the tobacco epidemic through collection of baseline data and study of key tobacco control indicators. (ANI)

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