Villages, districts and entire states have been declared “tobacco-free” in the past two months as part of the drive to eradicate tobacco use in India.
Campaign, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat have stopped the sale of tobacco in some villages and began to introduce fines for smoking or chewing of food. Himachal Pradesh was the first state to be expressed without the smoke of the Chief Minister in May, while the government of Haryana has recently announced the state is the first to go “hookah bar free” after the closure of more than 60 bars, offering a hookah, or water pipes, with nicotine.
“There are no cigarettes,” said a local shopkeeper Bhajan Lal Selwal, his teeth gleaming direct evidence for life out of tobacco.
Mr. Lal Selwal said that he and his neighbors had never smoked or tried paan, chewing tobacco and serves approximately 20% of Indian tobacco users in accordance with the Global Adult Tobacco Survey by the World Health Organization. A small silver package is hanging on the wall behind the store contain hair dyes and detergents, and is not addictive paan masala is sold in stores, as it is throughout the country.
Mr. Lal Selwal do not think that it plays in financial terms, do not sell tobacco products, and believes that he retained his health and to protect your wallet, do not smoke. “The consumption of tobacco destroys health, and one end to spend a lot of money to cure the disease,” he says.
The villagers differ on how, when and why Shankapura became free from tobacco.
The farmer was smoking “shisha” during a protest in New Delhi, August 3, 2011.
Suresh Selwal, 40-year-old professor of political science at the University of Kurukshetra in Haryana, says the tradition started smoking in the village at the time of partition in 1947.
“In the struggle between Hindus and Muslims in 1947, the founder of our sub-castes Selwal was being chased by the Muslims and to defend himself, he hid in tobacco,” Mr. Selwal says. “Since then he has promised to plant tobacco,” Our cast is protected you as you protected me. So no one uses tobacco. “
Nevertheless, the oldest member of the village, Ram Lamb, who said he lived at 101 and Shankapura for 90 years, argues that the prohibition of tobacco began at least as early as generation grandfather.
“Since no one smoked, and when you do not see smoking in your family you do not do it,” says one hundred, who claims that he and his 84-year-old wife have no health problems.
The village is mostly Sikhs; another reason cited living there to the Tobacco Free status. The tenth Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh, banned smoking and the history of the Sikh farmer once said that he did not bless him if he stopped growing tobacco. According to the story, the farmer broke the tobacco crop, and began to grow wheat instead.
Paradoxically Shankapura is located in one of the three largest tobacco-growing states in India. Haryana and Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka was 84% of the total area of land used to grow tobacco in 2008-2009, when India produced 620 million kg of commodity crops, according to a report released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation.
Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2009-2010 found that nearly one in four 23.7% of those older than 15 years in tobacco products, Haryana. In northern India as a whole, the figure is 18.9%, while nationwide it is 35%.
The cost of such a high consumption of tobacco for the nation’s health is enormous. A study in the effects of tobacco in India, the New England Journal of Medicine in 2008 said that one million people a year in India die from diseases related to tobacco smoking in this decade – accounting for one out of five smoking-related Deaths in the world. According to the Center for Tobacco Control and Health offer this loss has been achieved.
Monika Arora, head of health promotion and tobacco control at the Public Health Foundation of India, said that laws banning smoking in public places in India has not produced the desired, because they were created “in a vacuum,” without public awareness campaigns to make them to work.
She adds that there is also no accurate data on the number of deaths caused by chewing tobacco.
“Smoke free laws in the U.S. and Canada saw the people standing up for their rights are not exposed to secondhand smoke,” Ms Arora said India’s real-time. “This kind of public outrage is not enough in India – people do not see this legislation as in their interests.”
Ms. Arora, who headed the smoke-free campaigns in villages in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, adds that the community should be a ban before it can be effective. In the villages, she said, in some cases, children under age 6 and began to chew tobacco for 10 years was diagnosed with oral cancer.
“We went to the Gates Foundation to fund the campaign, which is unique in this country,” she says. Three-year campaign, which is nearing the end of this year, made his first tobacco-free, village, Pongalipaka in Andhra Pradesh in May.
Another 10 surrounding villages are on track to achieve the same goal, though; Ms. Arora acknowledges that it is impossible to tell if people will continue to smoke in their own homes. In these villages, the leader of the Panchayat – the head of the community – was involved, and local traders were forced to stop selling tobacco products and replace them with other areas, such as tissue. Fines were imposed on those smoking in public places.
“It’s about changing the rules and regulations define the people, he was not assigned to them,” said Mrs. Arora, who has not heard of smokeless Shankapura. But now she thinks the government should support the village and keep it as an example.
“Tobacco has been part of Indian culture from the Mughal when tobacco was presented to the emperor as a hookah … People do not come to an agreement to say that this is something that can be harmful, the level of motivation to quit is low.