Consortium For Tobacco Free Karnataka
Tobacco Control -FSHI Perspective
World Health Organization (WHO) recognises tobacco as a global pandemic and calls for action by its members. The broad guidelines for tobacco control are evolved through the first ever public health treaty on any public health issue by WHO known as ‘Framework Convention of Tobacco Control’ (FCTC). FSHI is committed to addressing both the demand and supply reduction measures delineated by FCTC. It further aligns with the MPOWR (Monitoring Protecting People from tobacco smoke, Quitting tobacco use, Warning about dangers of tobacco, Enforcing Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship, Raising Taxes on tobacco) strategies advocated by WHO
FSHI’s tobacco control activities are being carried out under the initiative ‘Consortium for Tobacco Free Karnataka (CFTFK) since the year 2000. Protection of children from tobacco has been a focus of CFTFK since its inception as they have been the target for the tobacco companies across the globe. FSHI sees the two major challenges for tobacco control which are Social Approval for tobacco use and legal approval for production, supply and sales which is being exploited by the tobacco industry and government. While the government gets a substantial amount of money through taxes, the tobacco industry gets a huge profit. Globally the tobacco industry is a multibillion-dollar trade and its sheer money power thwarts all public health measures for its control in place across the globe. FSHI emphasises that both demand and supply reduction measures need to go simultaneously.
Finally, FSHI is aware of the livelihood issues of workers of the tobacco industry. However, considering the huge health care cost incurred for treating tobacco related diseases and death leading to economic crisis of families and environment implication of both tobacco consumption and cultivation, supply reduction is inevitable, farmer must be encouraged to move to alternate crops in a phased manner. With political will, employment can be generated but loss of life cannot be replaced.