Health ministry launched a national toll free number  to help people overcome tobacco addiction
GN Bureau | May 30, 2016
Health ministry is in favour of imposing deterrent taxes on tobacco industry to end the growing nicotine addiction among Indians.
Stating this, director general of health Dr Jagdish Prasad, said India loses 1.6 percent of its gross domestic product [GDP] to tobacco addiction each year. This, he said, is a huge economic cost and therefore increasing the burden of taxes on the industry would help.
Health minister J P Nadda launched a national toll free number  to help people overcome tobacco addiction. Smokers can call on this number to seek counselling and doctor’s advice to get rid of their addiction. Nadda launched the helpline on the eve of the world tobacco day which falls on May 31.
Nadda said India has done well in sensitising people about the health hazards posed by tobacco but it lacks an effective strategy to prevent tobacco addiction among the youth.
He said sticking to 85 percent pictorial warnings on cigarette packs has created good amount of awareness and the government would not budge at it. It may be recalled that cigarette makers have been canvassing for removing the 85 percent warning on the plea that this was the strictest norm all over the world.
He pinned the blame on lack of preventive strategy on state governments and said the state policymakers need to be sensitised on the issue for better results.
He said that in future schools and other public places would have posters warning youth of health hazards because of tobacco addiction.
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