GUWAHATI, Aug 24: A significant state level workshop dedicated to the National Tobacco Control Programme was successfully conducted by the State Tobacco Control Cell, Directorate of Health, government of Assam, in partnership with the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) on Tuesday. Held at Hotel Greenwood, Guwahati, the workshop was designed to bolster the implementation of tobacco control laws, policies, and strategies in the state.
The event drew the participation of district-level officials from District Tobacco Control Cells, experts, and stakeholders. Discussions revolved around the essential aspects of tobacco control and its practical application in Assam. Nobashree Gogoi, deputy director of Directorate of Health Services Assam, welcomed the participants with a warm opening address.
Satyajit Das, state project coordinator from the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, shared the objectives of the training. Dr Nilmadhav Das, director of Directorate of Health Services, delivered the keynote address, emphasising the necessity for a cohesive implementation of the National Tobacco Control Programme through collaboration with all stakeholder departments at the district level.
Dr Ramesh Bhattha, state consultant for the National Tobacco Control Program (NTCP), outlined the roadmaps and expectations from all District Tobacco Control Cells (DTCCs), underlining their pivotal role in advancing tobacco control objectives.
Dr Amit Yadav, senior technical advisor at the International Union’s South East Asia office in New Delhi, delved into the practical challenges of tobacco control law enforcement. He also shared experiences from other states on measures such as tobacco vendor licensing, hookah bar bans, and regulation of smokeless tobacco.
Dr Bhaktimay Bhattachrya, DNO, Jorhat district, highlighted stakeholder engagement’s importance in monitoring and enforcing tobacco control laws. The workshop also stressed the collaborative effort required for effective tobacco control at district and sub-district levels.
Dr Heramba Kumar Bhattacharyya, state nodal officer for the State Tobacco Control Cell, presented the tobacco use burden in Assam and advocated for the Tobacco-Free Village initiative, highlighting the vital role of multiple stakeholders in raising awareness against tobacco use.
Dr Arundhati Deka, former state nodal officer for NTCP in Assam, elaborated on creating Tobacco-Free Educational Institutes (TOFEI), fostering a health-conscious environment within educational institutions to curb tobacco use among youth.
The workshop concluded with a collective commitment to intensify tobacco control efforts in the state.