Health assembly of young leaders advocating for children's rights for tobacco free environment
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Salaam Bombay Foundation, Mumbai, India
Publication date: 2021-09-02
Corresponding author
Tshering Doma Bhutia   

Salaam Bombay Foundation, Mumbai, India
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2021;19(Suppl 1):A253
The Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC) emphasizes on children's right to information that mandates to provide information to children on harms of tobacco and right to health to ensure that children should get highest attainable standard of health. Despite this, tobacco use among Indian adolescents is still a serious problem. Children are being exposed to second hand smoke. Tobacco industry also concentrates all its strategies to recruit adolescents as new users.

Salaam Bombay Foundation is implementing In-school Tobacco Control Leadership Programme in 350 Mumbai schools to create awareness on harms of tobacco among adolescents and build their capacities and transform them into change agents to work towards protecting children’s right to health and tobacco free environment.

Through Tobacco Control Leadership Programme, adolescents are made aware about forms of tobacco, important tobacco related health facts and health harms of tobacco. They are also introduced to tobacco control law and policy makers in tobacco control. Subsequently, these students are transformed into empowered leaders and provided platform in form of annual ‘Children’s Health Assembly’ to interact with policy makers to raise concerns related to tobacco and adolescents.

Due to advocacy efforts of children’s health assembly, action has been taken on 676 shops selling tobacco within 100 yards radius of school premises; Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) included section 6 of COTPA 2003 in its Shops and Establishments Act to prohibit sale of tobacco products to minors and within 100 yards of educational institutions; Tobacco advertisements were removed from 4,680 BEST public transport buses running across various routes in the city.

Though SBF has been successful in giving voice to adolescents to protect children’s right to health and tobacco free environment, the government adopting this program for educational institutions across the country is the key to success of the intervention.

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