Collective action for effective tobacco control: one province at a time
 
 
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Government of Karnataka, Police, India
Publish date: 2018-03-01
 
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A642
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ABSTRACT
Background and challenges to implementation:
Daily, nearly 5500 adolescents experiment with tobacco use in India. Tobacco use leads to many ailments including psychological/emotional distress and higher risk of addiction into other drug use (alcohol, marijuana, cocaine). Being the Superintendent of Police of a province called Gadag in a southern Indian state of Karnataka I felt it was my responsibility to ensure a safe and healthy province.

Intervention or response:
Tobacco control requires coordination among several stakeholders. The following steps were followed:
- Letters sent to 64 government departments in Gadag about initiating a campaign to make Gadag the first COTPA (Cigarettes and other tobacco products act) compliant province in India,
- Letter to all major private associations in the province like hotels, bars, tobacco retailers, transport companies etc.
- Joint meeting of all stakeholders and sensitization about the law
- Setting timelines and providing stakeholders an opportunity to comply with the law
- Public notices via print and electronic media
- Enforcement drives to penalize non-compliant establishments/ individuals after completion of deadlines
- Review and compilation of department implementation details
- Incorporation into monthly reporting and review mechanisms

Results and lessons learnt:
This intensive campaign lasted for 3 months resulting in significant decline in sales of tobacco products and a very high level of awareness throughout Gadag on the harms of tobacco usage. The sales data from the retailers showed a drop to one third of the pre-campaign levels. The lessons learnt include:
- A province is the best suited unit to initiate tobacco control activities
- Intersectoral action and coordination is possible and is a must for effective tobacco control

Conclusions and key recommendations:
What started with one province Gadag has now been replicated in 23 other provinces throughout Karnataka. COTPA compliance or comprehensive tobacco control is achievable, replicable and will aid in building momentum for endgame of tobacco in India

eISSN:1617-9625