Kolkata campaigns for ‘Tobacco-Free World’

KOLKATA: To carry forward the campaign for a tobacco-free world, the US-based Bloomberg Initiative (BI) and The International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease came together to host a meet in the city of joy.

Popular state icons like singer Lopamudra Mitra, sports personality Dibyendu Barua, cricketer Shreevats Goswami and others chipped in the new initiative, which was spearheaded locally by the NGO - Manbhum Ananda Ashram Nityananda Trust (MANT).

“Every person should be able to breathe smoke free air. Smoke-free environment protects the health of non-smokers, who are otherwise reduced to passive smokers. I am happy to be a part of the Alliance for Tobacco Free West Bengal initiative to increase public awareness,” Barua, the chess wizard said.

The Bloomberg Initiative Grants Program was started in 2006 to support projects that develop and deliver high-impact, evidence-based tobacco control interventions. The BI Grants Program provides funding to government ministries and agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations, and universities in more than 60 countries.

Tobacco kills more than 14,000 people every day and experts are of the view that deaths are increasing every day. Unless urgent action is taken, tobacco will kill eight million people a year by 2030, 80 per cent of them in developing countries.

To address this global public health crisis, Michael R. Bloomberg, philanthropist and mayor of New York City, launched a global initiative to fight tobacco use in low- and middle-income countries, where more than two-thirds of the world's smokers live.

Leading experts call for a global campaign to create a tobacco-free world by 2040.

“A world where tobacco is out of sight, out of mind, and out of fashion - yet not prohibited - is achievable in less than three decades from now, but only with full commitment from governments, international agencies, such as UN and World Health Organisation, and civil society,” experts opined.

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