Mass Media Support Provided by World Lung Foundation

Mar 07, 2015, New Delhi, India and New York, United States –To address the epidemic of smoked and smokeless tobacco use in India, World Lung Foundation (WLF) today urged State governments across India to use a new, free mass media campaign resource that can help to build support for tobacco control and encourage people to quit, or never initiate tobacco use. According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, 47.9% of adult males and 20.3% of adult females in India smoke or chew tobacco, while the Global Youth Tobacco Survey estimated that the prevalence of current tobacco use among 13-15 year olds increased from 13.7% in 2006 to 14.6% in 2009. Tobacco use is the leading risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which account for 53% of all deaths in India.

Campaigns on WLF’s Mass Media Resource (MMR) are available in 17 languages, covering topics such as the harms of tobacco (including bidis, cigarettes and smokeless tobacco), the risks of exposure to second hand smoke and the benefits of smokefree laws. If State governments commit resources to the airtime needed for campaigns to run on mass media in their States, WLF is prepared to share both its online resources and technical assistance to make sure campaigns are well implemented, just as it does at the national level with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Investment in these campaigns is highly cost-effective when compared with high healthcare costs and lower economic activity associated with tobacco-related death and disease. A recent report, “Economic Burden of Tobacco Related Diseases in India”, estimated that the total economic costs attributable to tobacco use from all diseases among people aged 35 to 69 years old were Rs. 1,04,500 crores (US$22.4billion) in 2011.

Peter Baldini, Chief Executive Officer, World Lung Foundation, said, “Tobacco use is a leading risk factor for NCDs including cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Reducing tobacco use would help to reduce the overall burden of NCDs in India. More people are likely to quit or not initiate tobacco use when they are aware of the actual harms of this deadly habit – both to tobacco users and those around them. Like graphic warnings on tobacco packaging, mass media campaigns play a vital role in warning people about those harms.”

Materials available via the MMR

The MMR at www.southasiammr.orghosts television and radio spots, films, and outdoor materials that are ready to adapt and air and could be easily adapted for use in various States. Several Public Service Announcements (PSAs) have already run with great impact at the national level.

Dr. NanditaMurukutla, Country Director, India, World Lung Foundation, said, “Campaigns compiled over years of programming for the national government are among the highly effective resources available to India’s State governments. Anti-tobacco campaigns run frequently on strategic State media channels can make a real difference in reducing tobacco use nationally. We encourage State governments to view WLF materials available at www.southasiammr.org and contact us to find out more.”
CCI Newswire 

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