India committed to tobacco free society: PM

Manmmohan Singh
New Delhi, Sept 11: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday said India is committed to a tobacco free society and emphasised on providing alternative livelihoods to those engaged in tobacco farming or manufacture.

The prime minister said India recently banned the sale of gutkha, a widely consumed form of chewing tobacco.

"India is firmly committed to the vision of a tobacco free society," the prime minister said in a recorded message at the International Conference on Public Health Priorities in the 21st Century here.

"As we act with conviction and commitment to eliminate tobacco as a threat to human health, we must also assist those engaged in tobacco farming or manufacture, to move towards economically viable alternative livelihoods," he said.

Participants from various countries would take part in two-day deliberations to discuss ways for tobacco control.

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

Nearly 275 million people use tobacco in India. Nearly 48 percent men and 20 percent women use some form of tobacco.

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