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INDIA: Anti-tobacco initiatives launched

Salesian Bangalore Rural Education and Development Society (BREADS)

Programs warn people of dangers, provide help to quit tobacco

Anti-tobacco initiatives in India.

INDIA

(MissionNewswire) The Salesian Bangalore Rural Education and Development Society (BREADS) launched anti-tobacco initiatives for World No Tobacco Day on May 31. The organization’s DREAM (Drug Rehabilitation Education and Mentoring) teams held a variety of activities and programs for youth in districts in Kerala, India. These programs warned people about tobacco use and offered them help to quit.

A Salesian noted, “Many youngsters in urban schools and colleges would say that vaping is cool. There’s a culture created around it to promote its coolness, which is probably why 23% of the college kids in an ‘India Today’ survey use e-cigarettes. Gen Z vapers have their own vocabulary, memes, cartoons, videos and other social media content to share their experiences.”

He added, “Varieties of flavors are an enticement, adding to the thrill of breaking the law — possession and use of e-cigarettes are banned in India. Many believe that vaping is not smoking and not an addictive practice.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) has indicated that children use e-cigarettes at higher rates than adults everywhere. Globally, an estimated 37 million youth ages 13-15 use tobacco.

The district DREAM teams collaborated to highlight the impact of tobacco use in Indian families, especially the youth. In Kannur, the team held activities and discussions with tribal youth to help them learn more about choosing a tobacco-free life. The team focused on empowering parents with practical guidance to help youth make proactive choices for the well-being of their families.

In Kollam, public awareness programs included a flash mob and street play that were supported by officials from the Child Welfare Committee and Excise Department. In Wayanad, excise officers helped the DREAM staff to spread awareness. In Thiruvananthapuram, the team took to the streets and public spots to educate the public on tobacco addiction and resources for help, motivating at least one person to visit the local DREAM center for counseling.

In Thrissur, DREAM staff together with excise officials and National Social Service and National Cadet Corps students, took a pledge to avoid tobacco. Through a game, the students also symbolically bowled tobacco out of their lives.

Salesian programs across India are primarily focused on education. Salesian primary and secondary education in the country helps youth prepare for later technical, vocational or university study. Other programs help to support poor youth and their families by meeting the basic needs of shelter, proper nutrition and medical care.

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Sources:

ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)

ANS – India – Clean bowled, Tobacco!

BREADS Bangalore

Salesian Missions – India

World Bank – India

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