World No Tobacco Day: Need for public awareness & community engagement to combat smoking, says PGI Dean

Expressing concern about passive smoking, Subhash Varma said cigarette smoking puts people present nearby in harm’s way because it is equally dangerous for a passive smoker as it is for an active one.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh | Updated: June 1, 2017 5:01 am
PGIMER, World Tobacco day, smoking, Mini marathon, Indian express news, india news, Latest news Participants during a mini marathon on the World No Tobacco Day in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Photo by Sahil Walia

THERE IS a need for public awareness and community engagement regarding the ill-effects of smoking, said Professor Subhash Varma, Dean of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, on Wednesday.
Verma was speaking at an event organised by the Department of Hospital Administration in association with the State Bank of India to commemorate World No Tobacco Day on the PGIMER premises on Wednesday.

“Despite the unequivocal evidence of the harmful effects of tobacco on health, today, tobacco remains the world’s biggest killer. The sad part is that the death rate associated with the consumption of tobacco doesn’t seem to take a dip as easy availability of tobacco has made it a problem of epidemic proportions amongst the youth,” said the PGI dean.

Expressing concern about passive smoking, Varma said cigarette smoking puts people present nearby in harm’s way because it is equally dangerous for a passive smoker as it is for an active one. “So, it becomes our moral and social responsibility not only to keep PGIMER campus tobacco free but also spread the message to the society at large,” he said.

Sanjay Kumar, general manager of the State Bank of India, said the bank is extremely sensitised towards its social responsibility and whole-heartedly supported the endeavour. “The problem of smoking is so deep rooted among people that it needs a holistic approach to spread awareness about its ill-effects. Hopefully, through this collaboration, we get the message of No Tobacco out to our families and communities and help save precious lives,” said Kumar.

Throwing light on various initiatives undertaken by the Department of Hospital Administration to contain this menace on the campus, A K Gupta, MS-cum-Head of the Department of Hospital Administration, said the PGI administration has invested systematic and synergised efforts over the years to make PGIMER tobacco free. “But it is said that there is always room at the top. So, lets renew our thrust today to make our institution hundred per cent tobacco free in sync with our slogan, ‘Health is Wealth’.”

On Wednesday, the event began with an awareness march from the OPD Complex which culminated at Kairon block. During the march, participants, numbering over 500, sensitised patients and attendants about the importance of a tobacco free atmosphere.

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