Developing leadership among youth and motivating them to work for tobacco control in Maharashtra
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Sambandh Health Foundation, Gurgaon, India
Publication date: 2021-09-02
Corresponding author
Mohd Aamir Khan   

Sambandh Health Foundation, Gurgaon, Haryana, India
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2021;19(Suppl 1):A251
National Service Scheme (NSS) is a Government scheme for students from schools & colleges to volunteer for social work. They are led by a Program Officer (PO). NSS has become involved in tobacco control activities in Maharashtra during last 4 months. Thousands of NSS volunteers have come forward to do anti-tobacco activities such as giving anti-tobacco pledge to students and the community, street plays, rallies, poster competitions, etc. NSS students work on various social issues such as cleanliness, blood donation, pollution, disaster management, etc. The challenge is to get their focus on tobacco control.

To develop leadership among the youth so they can work for tobacco control

In Maharashtra the chewing tobacco prevalence is high (24.4%) and more than 500 children initiate tobacco use per day. Tobacco control Workshops were conducted for NSS volunteers. Tobacco Control Leader (TCL) and Social Media Leader (SML) from volunteers were assigned so they can take the ownership and expand the activities among their NSS Units. Telephonic conversation, Emails, WhatsApp groups were the main communication channel. Those who have done excellent work were provided badges, certificates and trophies. This really inspire them to do best and become leader for this campaign.

NSS campaign for tobacco control has played significant role in sensitizing people and youth. During May-September 2019, 4383 NSS Volunteers conducted 357 activities to sensitize 60957 people about tobacco. Many of the activities were reported in the media.

Youth is the voice of the society. Involvement of youth in tobacco control activities brings behaviour changes and contribute to a tobacco free generation. Youth ownership is crucial and through such campaign they are including tobacco control in their priority under their leadership which led tobacco prevalence down.

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