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Anti-tobacco activities in Ri-Bhoi ahead of World No-Tobacco Day

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From Our Correspondent

NONGPOH, May 16: As the world gears up to observe World No-Tobacco Day on May 31, activities to mark the day are already in full swing in Meghalaya with the state’s own campaign ‘My Meghalaya, Tobacco-Free Meghalaya’.
Launched on April 3, the World No-Tobacco Day 2024 initiative in Meghalaya is rallying educational institutions across the state to join forces in combating tobacco use through two impactful actions — ‘Walk Against Tobacco’ and ‘Create A Wall Of Posters’.
This concerted effort is a continuation of the Tobacco-Free Educational Institutions (ToFEI) programme, which was introduced in schools in March 2021 and extended to colleges in September 2023 in collaboration with the Sambandh Health Foundation.
Schools and colleges across Meghalaya are actively participating in the run-up to the World No-Tobacco Day with a primary focus on garnering support from the entire community.
Dr Lana L. Nongbri, State Nodal Officer of the National Tobacco Control Programme under the Department of Health, revealed alarming statistics pertaining to tobacco-related deaths.
Informing that nearly half of adults, aged 15 and above in Meghalaya, are tobacco consumers, Dr. Nongbri said around 80,000 tobacco-related deaths occur annually.
A recent survey conducted across 61,748 schools in four states, including Meghalaya, unveiled a concerning correlation between the proximity of tobacco-selling shops to schools and the prevalence of tobacco use.
Dr. Nongbri emphasised the need for collective action, involving the Meghalaya Police, the Education Department, and community engagement to shield children from the perils of tobacco.
On the other hand, Jennyfer J. Synrem from the Education Department highlighted the success of the 2023 campaign, which saw over 8,000 schools participate in various activities such as rallies and poster campaigns, while approximately 65 lakh individuals were engaged in a signature campaign.
Meanwhile, Ri-Bhoi Deputy Commissioner, Arpit Upadhyaya, has extended an invitation to the residents of the district to unite in raising awareness through initiatives like the World No-Tobacco Day campaign, fostering a healthier tomorrow through collective behavioural change.

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