Engaging youth in anti-tobacco awareness campaigns in India
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Salaam Bombay Foundation, Tobacco Control & Advocacy, India
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A221
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Background and challenges to implementation:
Tobacco use among school children is a serious problem in India. Lack of proper guidance, urge to imitate elders, peer pressure, misconceptions, easy availability of variety of tobacco products and innovative advertisements attract the children to tobacco. Salaam Bombay Foundation (SBF), under its leadership program conducts tobacco control awareness campaigns engaging the school children.

Intervention or response:
Since 2006 Salaam Bombay Foundation has launched various long term tobacco control awareness campaigns engaging the youth. The accompanying table has detailed information on the year/date of launch of awareness campaigns with their objectives and modes of implementation.

Launch of CampaignObjectiveImplementation
Quit Tobacco Movement (2008) Launched in 2008, it is implemented every year in the schools having SBF's Super Army Leadership ProgramTo promote freedom from tobaccoInspired by the Quit India Movement Used freedom struggle imagery to promote freedom from tobacco. Street plays, rallies, poster exhibitions at railway stations and public places.
Life Se Panga Mat Le Yaar (2011) This campaign was launched involving a celebrity from Indian film industry to get the attention of youth on the important issue of tobacco and its harmful effects. The campaign had a long term impact due to media coverage.To counteract positive images of tobacco in popular cinema.Launched using a celebrity ambassador Street plays, rallies at public places. Audience engagement through radio, social media.
Election Campaign (2014) This campaign was done during the parliamentary elections in India in 2014. The similar campaign will be conducted during the state and municipal elections to create awareness on tobaccoTo encourage people to stop using tobacco as part of New Year's resolution.The students took on the role of campaigners and voters for a hypothetically created "Tambakhu Mukta Party". Automated voting machine was created to showcase various voting options to choose from various tobacco products.
''Tambakhu Ko Dhishum'' (2015) It is a long term online campaign which makes the use of social media like Facebook where photographs clicked by children are posted on a continuous basis.To collect cases of violation of COTPA 2003 actOnline campaign launched on 'World No Tobacco Day 2015' with NGOs in Mumbai. The campaign monitored the violations of the act related to sale and promotion of tobacco products.
[Tobacco Control Campaigns of SBF]

Results and lessons learnt:
Quit Tobacco Movement campaign in now extended to every school to advocate for quitting consumption of tobacco among children, communities etc. 'Life Se Panga Mat Le Yaar' campaign reached out to 165,000 to 227,000 people through radio stations and got 2,581 youtube views. It also earned print media attention in Times of India and Hindustan Times. In 'Election Campaign' program 692 children from three municipal schools in Mumbai participated. 2290 campaign slogans were collected from participating schools. "Tambakhu ko Dishum" was an innovative online campaign to create awareness on tobacco which grabbed the attention of youth as well as media. After submission of demand charter during "Right to Tobacco Free School", government authorities discussed it with children and assured that official letters would be sent to all the schools in Mumbai to fulfill all the demands mentioned in demand charter.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
Engagement of empowered youth in the tobacco awareness campaigns helps to create awareness on tobacco control among their peers, community. Such campaigns involving youth will prove beneficial in reducing the tobacco habits in future generations of India. But, the effectiveness of the campaigns rests in utilizing energy and innovative minds of youth appropriately.

Tobacco-related content on social networking sites: evidence from a youth-led campaign in India
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Journal of Global Health Reports
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