Smoke Free Initiative launched – Mizoram is Example

By- Correspondent | Date- June 30, 2011

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Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla launched yesterday, June 29th the much discussed Smoke Free Mizoram programme to make the State free from smoking and tobacco consumption. At the launch of this initiative, Lal Thanhawla stated that smoking in public places in Mizoram has already decreased to a great extent. This is due to high awareness among the Mizos about the adverse health effects of tobacco consumption and smoking.

The Smoke Free Mizoram initiative is an extension of the project ‘Advocacy and mobilization for smoke free Mizoram and effective tobacco control implementation in the state‘.

Some of the different initiatives within this project for Smoke Free Mizoram are

Smoke Free Initiatives by penalizing offenders– under which people smoking in smoke free zones would be strongly penalized.

Sensitization Programmes– Sensitization programs for different target groups such as enforcement officials, stakeholders and health professionals within Mizoram. Awareness regarding general information on tobacco, passive smoking results of smoking, practical issues related to enforcement of legal action against smoking offenders, etc is given in these Programmes.

Awards for best as well as worst localities through Air Quality Monitoring (AQM)– Under this plan, several locations such as government and private buildings, schools, public places and offices are analyzed and the air quality would be monitored. The most polluted public place will be given the Dirty Ashtray award while the least polluted public place will be given the Zamzo Award named after one of the most beautiful flowers of Mizoram.

Group discussions and Awareness campaigns– This is a collective effort to work towards reducing smoking and tobacco consumption in not only public places, but also in other mass gatherings such as weddings, funerals and other social & cultural events. Materials such as Pamphlets, Fact sheet, Posters, TV Spots and Radio Jingles are being aggressively for this purpose.

It is mentionable that in Mizoram the main strength in reducing people’s affinity towards tobacco and smoking is the state’s strong political commitment with the issue. Chief Minister, Lal Thanhawla, Health Minister Lalrinliana Sailo, President of Indian Society on Tobacco and Health (Mizoram Chapter) Lal Riliani has been strongly vocal and participative in the issue. This has helped control initiatives to be successful and effective in the state.

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