Midnapore (West Bengal), February-25, 2020:National Service Scheme (NSS) Cell ofVidyasagar University organized tobacco control workshopin collaboration with Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Howrah and Sambandh Health Foundation. The workshop was held on 25thFebruary in University Auditorium, Midnapore.Program Officers and student volunteers from 152 NSS Units participated. Tapan Kumar De,NSS Program Coordinator of the University facilitated in organizing the workshop.

Sambandh Health Foundation (SHF) provided technical support for ‘Pledge for Life – Tobacco Free Youth Campaign’. This was part of an action plan made for NSS activities for the academic year 2019-2020, which included tobacco free oaths, NSS Rural camps,poster competition, quiz competition and various anti-tobacco activities.During the workshop, best anti-tobacco posters made by the NSS Units were rewarded.

In the workshop, Program Officers and students took anti-tobacco pledge to refrain themselves from tobacco and encourage others to stay away from this deadly addiction. They were made aware about ill-effects of tobacco, cancer prevention, Tobacco Free Educational Institutions andtobacco control laws.

Dr. Arijit Sen, Oncologist,Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Howrahand VoTV patronsaid“Now cancer is being detected at much early age and one of the reasons is extensive use of tobacco products. If a person initiate tobacco uses early in his life, he is more likely to continue this addiction throughout his life. Since, quit rate is very low in tobacco addiction, more and more efforts must be towards reducing the initiation of tobacco among youth. Prevention will yield best results for a tobacco free society.”

‘Pledge for Life - Tobacco Free Youth’ campaign is inspired by the Honourable President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind and supported by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. This campaign focuses on preventive strategies for youth to abstain from using tobacco and discouraging others also from doing so. This campaign is currently being rolled out in states of Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal.

West Bengal Regional Directorate of NSS and State NSS Cell, Government of West Bengal in collaboration with Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Howrahand Sambandh Health Foundationare rolling out the campaign in West Bengal.

Prof. Ranjan Chakrabart, Honourable Vice Chancellor, Vidyasagar University said,“It’s a great initiative on a social cause of protecting our young generations from tobacco menace. Youth must be actively participating in anti-tobacco activities and these efforts will lead towards a positive social behavior change in the society. Students should take pride in saying ‘NO’ to tobacco and other addictive substances if offered.”

Dr. Somil Rastogi, Sr. Project Manager,Sambandhsaid, “More than 2.28 crore people in West Bengal use tobacco – smoking and chewing. More than 1,53,000 users die annually due to diseases attributed to tobacco. More than 430 children are introduced to tobacco every day. Such campaigns, which focus on prevention are bound to bring social reforms. NSS has done wonders in social welfare. They are now committed to bring this change in community through Pledge for Life-Tobacco FreeYouth campaign.”

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Dr Somil Rastogi