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Voice of Tobacco Victims (VoTV) campaign sensitized more than 21000+ policymakers & enforcers in India on tobacco control in 9 years
Ashima Sarin 1  
,   Sanjay Seth 1
 
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Sambandh Health Foundation, Gurugram, India
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Ashima Sarin   

Sambandh Health Foundation, 16, Block O, Pocket N, Sector 40, Gurugram, Haryana 122001, India
Publication date: 2021-09-02
 
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2021;19(Suppl 1):A9
 
KEYWORDS
ABSTRACT
Introduction:
Voice of Tobacco Victims (VoTV) is a doctors-led initiative to sensitize policymakers about the dangers of extensive tobacco usage, tobacco industry activities, lack of stringent action against tobacco companies and the growing plight of victims across India. Policymakers are aware that tobacco is harmful but they are usually not introduced to the damage it causes at the personal level.

Objectives:
To reduce the tobacco prevalence in India

Methods:
This campaign used a dozen of cancer survivors in Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai in 2009. The campaign aimed to make Tobacco Victims (cancer survivors and their relatives) the public face of the anti-tobacco campaign. When launched in October 2011, it had 23 doctors as volunteers from various states of India. In the last 9 years, the number of doctors has risen to 406 from 25 states across India. These doctors are performing exemplary voluntary advocacy with highest policy makers to reduce prevalence of tobacco in the country.

Results:
More than 21,000 policymakers and policy enforcers have been sensitized on the issue of tobacco control. Sensitization and advocacy led to many policy changes in the last 9 years such as VAT increase, Gutka Ban, twin-packet smokeless ban, loose cigarettes ban, amendment in JJ Act, 85% pictorial pack warnings from 40% to 85% on both sides, Electronic cigarette ban in India. Also, the Government Department of Education and Police have started taking action against the violations of the Indian Tobacco Control Law.

Conclusion(s):
Doctors are respected individuals in society and experts in the harms caused by tobacco. When they work against their own profession, their credibility is very high and leads to policy change. The Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2017 showed that since 2009 the prevalence of tobacco use fell by an absolute 6% in India, that is, from 34.6% to 28.6%.

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