Andhra Pradesh/ Tirupati: Sri Venkateswara University (SVU), Tirupati organized a one-day workshop on ‘Pledge for Life’ Tobacco-Free Youth campaign for their program officers and volunteers of National Service Scheme (NSS) at Arts Block Auditorium on December 27, 2019. The workshop was attended by approximately 60 NSS units of Sri Venkateswara University. NSS Program Officers and Volunteers took a pledge to keep refrain from tobacco and to encourage others also to stay away from this deadly addiction. It is to be mentioned that SVU has approximately 160 NSS units and 16,000 volunteers.
‘Pledge for Life’-Tobacco-Free Youth campaign is inspired by President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind and supported by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. This campaign focuses on preventive strategies for youth to abstain from using tobacco and discourage others from doing so.
Sambandh Health Foundation (SHF) and Sri Venkateswara Institute of Cancer Care and Advanced Research [SVICCAR], Tirupati (supported by Tata Trusts) started the campaign in Andhra Pradesh. This campaign is currently rolling out in the states of Assam, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, and Delhi.
Dr. Goutham, Radiation Oncologist of SVICCAR said that tobacco is the world’s leading and preventable cause of death. In India, 13.50 lakh people die every year due to tobacco-related diseases. Tobacco impacts every part of the human body. He said that 50% of all cancers in men and 25% in women are caused by tobacco. The economic cost from just three diseases caused by tobacco namely cardiovascular, respiratory and cancer is estimated at Rs 104,500 crores per annum in India. He further added that the most disturbing fact is that 5500 children are initiating tobacco use every day.
As per Global Adults Tobacco Survey (GATS), -2 is 80 lakh people use tobacco in Andhra Pradesh, out of which 56 lakh smoke. 30.0% of men, 10.1% of women and 20.0% of all adults either smoke tobacco and/or use smokeless tobacco. More than 48,000 users die untimely every year due to diseases attributed to tobacco and more than 250 children are introduced to tobacco every day.
He added “Now cancer is being detected at much early age and one of the reasons is extensive use of tobacco products. If a person initiates tobacco use early in his life, he is more likely to continue this addiction throughout his life. Since, quit rate is very low in tobacco addiction, more and more efforts must be towards reducing the initiation of tobacco among youth.”
Prof. G Padmanabham, the NSS Coordinator of SVU said “It’s a great initiative on a social cause of protecting our young generations from tobacco menace. Youth must be actively participating in anti-tobacco activities and these efforts will lead towards a positive social behavior change in the society. Students should take pride in saying ‘NO’ to tobacco and other addictive substances if offered.”