Ministry of Health launches national campaign against second-hand smoke

Being exposed to second-hand smoke affects an adult’s heart and blood vessels directly. Adult non-smokers, who live with smokers, are at about 25 per cent more risk of developing a heart disease. Almost half of children regularly breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke in public places.  Second-hand smoke causes more than 890,000 premature deaths per year

 Ministry of Health launches national campaign against second-hand smoke
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‘Clinical’, a 30-second Public Service Announcement (PSA), revealed how exposure to second-hand smoke causes stroke and heart disease among non-smokers and encourages smokers to protect others by quitting smoking. It is the first national tobacco control mass media campaign to promote a ‘quit smoking’ helpline

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), India, 2017, there has been a reduction in exposure to second-hand smoke (SHS) in India since 2009-2010 (last GATS India report), but a large proportion of adults and children are still exposed to this invisible killer.

Exposure to SHS in public spaces reduced from 29% to 23% and exposure in the home reduced from 52% to 39%, but exposure in the workplace rose marginally from 29.9% to 30.2%. Fully comprehensive smoke-free laws, with no exemptions are more effective in protecting smokers and non-smokers.

Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Professor and Surgeon, Tata Memorial Hospital, said “Second-hand smoke affects the heart and increases the risk of smoking related diseases in non-smokers. Effective implementation of smoke free policies in work places, public areas and other areas could be a preventive strategy to protect people from second hand smoke. Mass media campaigns such as ‘Clinical’ can prove to be very effective in conveying the harms of second hand smoking and results of involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke.”

“There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke, but many people don’t know about this invisible killer,’ said Dr Nandita Murukutla, Vice President, Global Policy and Research, Vital Strategies.

She added, “We expect the campaign will be highly effective in changing knowledge and behaviours around the health risks of second-hand smoke. It will increase support for strong enforcement of India’s smoke-free laws, increase traffic to the national quitline and mCessation website at the National Health Portal, and help to discourage people from consuming tobacco in any form. Vital Strategies is pleased to partner with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in delivering this campaign.”

Research studies from a number of countries indicate that most people successfully quit tobacco using the cold turkey method (quitting abruptly).

To support people who want guidance and help in quitting tobacco use, the Government of India established a national Quitline on 1-800-11-2356 and an online resource, as recommended in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and MPOWER framework.

‘Clinical’ was filmed in India, and its effectiveness was assessed in test screenings among Indian audiences. During message-testing research, the campaign was found to be highly effective in communicating the harms of second-hand smoke, particularly on the heart.