Conferred with the WHO Director-General’s Special Recognition Award for global tobacco control on Thursday, Union Health Minister JP Nadda said that there has been a 54 per cent relative reduction in prevalence of tobacco use among minors. “My focus has always been on youth. My mantra for success in tobacco control efforts is ‘catch them young’. I am very pleased to note, therefore, that there has been a 54 per cent relative reduction in prevalence of tobacco use among minors (15-17 years) and 28 per cent reduction in the age group of 18-24 years. Further, age of initiation among youth has also increased by one year,” said Nadda at the function here.
The global recognition was presented to him by Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia, at the ‘National Consultation on Accelerating Implementation of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) for achievement of Sustainable Development Goals’.
Calling it a recognition of collective endeavour of the ministry, Nadda said that tobacco is a prime driver of poverty and it affects the family as a whole, the community and the country and requires a multi-sectoral approach to control it. “It has rightly been identified as a development issue. I am happy that tobacco users have reduced by 81 lakh and youth consumption of tobacco sees marked decrease,” said Nadda.