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India Railways to promote ‘Anti-tobacco campaign’

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New Delhi: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) with technical support from global health experts Vital Strategies has announced the launch of powerful outdoor ‘Tears You Apart anti-tobacco campaign’ to raise awareness of the harms of smokeless tobacco.

The exterior of the trains run by Indian Railways at India’s busiest major railway routes across eight states from today until September 2016 will now have images and messages from the recently-launched campaign.

The railway ads will potentially be seen by millions of low and middle income Indians – who are more likely to use smokeless tobacco – across urban and rural areas. This campaign is one of the most geographically extensive health promotion campaigns to utilize the world’s most heavily used railway network.

The ‘Tears You Apart’ campaign features a Public Service Announcement (PSA) filmed in B. Barooah Cancer Institute in Guwahati, Assam and at the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, Maharashtra, which shows real victims suffering from horrific cancers and disfigurements as a result of their chewing addiction.

It also includes the victims’ relatives, who describe how tobacco-related disease has destroyed careers and family life, and added to their financial burdens. The railway ads could reach people who had not previously seen the campaign on TV.

C.K. Mishra, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, said: “The Government is committed to ensuring healthcare and social safety for all Indians. Warning people about the dangers of tobacco, is a key part of our strategy, using mass media campaigns, Film Rule, and all other methods of behavior change communication.”

“Tears You Apart shows that tobacco-related suffering isn’t limited to disease and disability among patients; their loved ones also share immense health, emotional and financial pains and hardships. It was important for us to highlight this reality in this campaign,” added Mishra.

President and Chief Executive Officer of Vital Strategies, Jose Luis Castro, welcomed this initiative.

“We congratulate the Government of India on this campaign and are delighted that it will reach so many Indians in the course of their daily lives as they travel on the railway or see the trains go past. India is facing an increasing burden of non-communicable disease for which tobacco use is a leading risk factor, and an economic burden from tobacco-related disease of more than 1.4 trillion rupees every year,” said Castro. (ANI)

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