Union Health Minister J P Nadda said on Monday that India was committed to curbing tobacco consumption even as he pointed to its “huge economic burden on people and government”. He was speaking on the opening day of the seventh session of the Conference of Parties (COP7) to the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
COP 7 Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is the world’s biggest convention of tobacco control policies and is being held in India for the first time with 1,500 delegates from 180 countries participating in the deliberations.
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Nadda also described 2016 as a landmark year for tobacco control in India with the larger pictorial warnings having been implemented from April.
“The prevalence of tobacco use is still unacceptably high… There is a huge economic burden on people and governments due to adverse health consequences of tobacco use… We cannot do this alone. Along with national will and resources, we also need the strength of international collaboration,” he said.
Outside the event’s venue, a large contingent of policemen kept tobacco farmers away from the proceedings.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena announced his country’s plans to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products. “My minister of health is proposing to introduce plain packaging… in the near future. We thank FCTC for the excellent technical support,” said Sirisena.