News Updates : 2012-2011
December 2012: Gutkha wars: India toughens up on oral tobacco use
VHAI media team worked on a story on the issue of Gutka Ban in India with a senior journalist in Indian Express. All the background information & details were shared and as a result, this issue has been published as a feature article in the latest edition of British Medical Journal (BMJ).
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26 Nov 2012: "For Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Health Ministry Gets 5 Stars"
VHAI took a few journalists from the mainstream Hindi newspapers to show them the film “Jab Tak Hai Jaan”. The journalists were quite impressed with the Smoking messages displayed as per the rules in the film. Stories appeared on 26 Nov in Hindustan & National Dunia. VHAI has also followed this up with an appreciation letter to the MOHFW.
News Clip National Dunia    News Clip Hindustan
21 Nov 2012: India poor in depicting pictorial warnings on tobacco packets
Post Bureau, Guwahati (Nov 21): India figures shamefully low in a new report that ranks countries according to how successfully they have managed to introduce pictorial health warnings on tobacco packets - a proven strategy that deters people from smoking or chewing tobacco.
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21 Nov 2012: ADB suggests 50 pc hike in cigarette price
New Delhi, Nov 21, 2012 , DHNS : India can save tens of lakhs of lives and simultaneously earn billions of dollars in revenue if the government increases cigarette price by 50 per cent by imposing additional taxes, the Asian Development Bank has suggested.
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21 Nov 2012: Regional Cancer Centers Write To Prime Minister For Nationwide Ban On Gutka
Directors of 14 Regional Cancer Centers in India, including the Indian Dental Association & Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), wrote letters individually to the Honorable Prime Minister Shri Manmohan Singh & Honorable Health Minister Shri Ghulab Nabi Azad for implementing nationwide ban on the sale of gutka/pan masala products in the country.

VHAI media team shared the letter details with the press and soon after, stories appeared in The Hindu & Indian Express:
The Hindu      Indian Express
16 Nov 2012: India lags behind in pictorial health warnings depiction on tobacco packages
Nov 16, 2012: The "Cigarette Package Health Warnings: International Status Report", was released at the fifth session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) being held in Seoul, South Korea from November 12 to 17.India ranks 123 among 198 countries surveyed on warning size and fulfilment of requirements for picture-based warnings on cigarette packets.

VHAI media team developed a media story and shared the details with the press. Stories appeared in The Times of India, The Indian Express, The Hindu, Hindustan.
The Indian Express    The Hindu    The Times of India
Wire Agencies Stories
15 Nov 2012: Stories and coverage related to the Bidi Industry
VHAI media team has been providing timely support & guidance to the journalists in The Statesman for the stories and coverage related to the bidi industry. All relevant information is shared as and when required.

A comprehensive feature story appeared in The Statesman on the bidi issue with focus on child labour and exploitation of women in the bidi industry.
Statesman News Clip 1    Statesman News Clip 2
7 Nov 2012: LIC flouts 'Framework Convention on Tobacco Control' norms
NEW DELHI, 7 NOV: State-owned insurance major, Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), has been found to have flouted the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the first-ever global public health treaty negotiated under the United Nations.

This was revealed by a right to information (RTI) application filed by an NGO, Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI), which sought to know the number of shares held by LIC in the Indian Tobacco Company (ITC), in the last three years. The query included investment in other tobacco companies, including smokeless tobacco companies. The Statesman has a copy of the reply given by LIC in July 2011.
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23 October 2012: New warnings to be put up on tobacco products
VHAI media team shared the details of new pack warnings notified by Health Ministry dated 27th Sept,2012 to be implemented from April 2013, with some of our key journalists. News stories appeared in The Hindu, National Dunia.

Links to access the stories:
The Hindu    The Pioneer    Economic Times    Business Standard    The Statesman    The Hindu Businessline
News Clipping:   
National Dunai
New Delhi, 6 September, 2012: Smoking in Films
Sep 6, 2012: The case of Mahesh Bhatt v/s Union of India came up for the hearing in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Sep 4, 2012. The Union government has informed the Supreme Court that it would allow actors to smoke in films provided these actors do a promo to be shown along with the movie narrating the bad effects of smoking. The Government told the court that the notification superseding all earlier notifications prohibiting smoking scenes would be issued on September 14.

News X Channel aired the story on the whole issue live exclusively at 8.30 pm. Please click here to access the story:

Other stories on the issue:

Mizoram, 22 August, 2012:Mizoram bans gutka

On 22 Aug, 2012, Mizoram becomes first state in the North East of India to ban gutka. The notification was issued by the Stagte Government of Mizoram declaring the same.

Nai Duniya and other national media covered the story.

New Delhi, 28 August, 2012:Govt moves proposal to ban Child Labour
28 Aug: The Union Cabinet today approved a proposal for amending the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, to ban employment of children aged up to 14 in any form of industry hazardous or non-hazardous. It will be an offence to employ such children not only in factories or industries but also in homes or on farms, if their labour is meant to serve any commercial interest. The amendment cleared at the meeting presided by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 28 Aug, 2012 also approved a blanket ban on employing children below 18 years in hazardous industries like mining. At present, children under the age of 14 years are prohibited from employment only in hazardous industry.

The Ministry of Labour is likely to introduce the amendment bill in Parliament soon. The officials said maximum punishment for offences under the Act has been increased from one year imprisonment to two year imprisonment and from Rs 20,000 fine to Rs 50,000 fine or both. For repeated offences, they added, the punishment has been raised to a three-year jail term. Employment of persons below 18 years will be prohibited in hazardous occupations like in Mines, Explosives and hazardous occupations outlined in the Factories Act, 1948.

The overall responsibility for implementation of the act shall be vested with the district magistrate and the monitoring and inspection is to be done by the Labour department in the state concerned. It would also enable India to ratify ILO Convention 138 (minimum age for entry to employment) and Convention 182 (prohibition of employment of persons below 18 years in hazardous occupations).

Chandigarh, 27 August, 2012:Punjab bans gutka
27 Aug; Punjab has also joined the list of States banning gutka by invoking the provisions of Food Safety and Standard Act and Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulation 2011. Punjab became the 11th state to announce the ban.

For further information and news coverage please follow the links:

Murshidabad, 22 August, 2012:Story in TOI on Bidi workers of Jangipur, Murshidabad, West Bengal
Senior journalist from Times of India visited Murshidabad to do a story on bidi workers.

Please click for storylink:

July 25, 2012: CNN-IBN special show on Gutka Ban in India

The programme, 'Face the Nation' featured Shri. Amal Pushp - Director, MoHFW, Shri Ashwini Kumar - Commissioner, FDA, Madhya Pradesh,

Dr. K. Srinath Reddy - President, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi, Tata Memorial Hospital in the debate.

January 26, 2012: Budgam Declared First Smoke Free District In Jammu & Kashmir
VHAI's PAT & APPLE phase III project with 5 states towards Smoke Free Districts, Budgam was the first district to be declared 'Smoke Free' by the District Administration, Government of Jammu & Kashmir.

The declaration of "Smoke Free Budgam" District was done on the occasion of Republic Day on 26th January, 2012, wherein Honourable Minister for Agriculture, Shri Ghulab Hassan Mir hoisted the National Flag and declared "Budgam District as Smoke Free". The declaration was done on the basis of the positive results of the compliance study conducted by the Statistics and Evaluation Department of the District that was then cross checked by a monitoring visit of the senior administrative officer of the district himself.

New Delhi, 14 November, 2011: Over 48% of educational institutions even with signage had tobacco products being sold within 100 yards across five states of the country, reveals a survey

In India, November 14 is been celebrated as Children's Day, every year marking the birthday of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru whose love and passion for children knew no limit, but it is also disheartening to see that in India, about 5,500 youth in their teens start using tobacco each day.

A recent survey report reveals that more than 48% of educational institutions even with signage had tobacco products being sold within 100 yards across five states of the country as discovered by Voluntary Health Association of India and & 5 other partner organizations in the state of Assam, Jammu & Kashmir, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh & Rajasthan.

India Celebrates its 3rd Year Anniversary of Smoke Free Rules 42, 194 people fined, Rs 31 lakh collected in Delhi for violations after three years of smoking ban
New Delhi, 01 October 2011: Three years after the implementation of smoke free rules, which came into effect on October 2, 2008; over 42,194 persons have been fined/challaned and over Rs 31, 68,532 have been collected by the Delhi Government as fines from people for violating the no-smoking rules.

The smoke-free legislation, prohibiting smoking in public places, from October 2 came into effect and Voluntary Health Association of India played a proactive role in the entire process of the implementation of this law. According to the data, the state tobacco control cell, Delhi Government made 42, 194 raids at public places from October 2008 to August 2011.
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