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Anti-Smoking app to launch in February next year

“Operation Suraksha” to help reduce the number of young smokers in Karnataka

 

Bangalore, October 23, 2017: The Consortium For Tobacco Free Karnataka (CFTFK) in collaboration with Maya Health is going to launch an app, “Operation Suraksha”, to curb substance abuse among the children of Karnataka.

A National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) professor says that there has been an increase in the number of young smokers in Karnataka.

Dr. Pratima Murthy, Professor of Psychiatry at NIMHANS said, “While there has been a one per cent drop in the national average of cigarette smokers, the number of youths smoking in Karnataka has increased.” She said that NIMHANS has sees over 3000 cases of children exposed to substance abuse a year. The most common is smoking.

S J Chander of the CFTFK said, for the purpose of this app, 48 "life guards" from 10 cities in Karnataka will be trained to identify areas where violation of the COPTA (Cigarette and Other Tobacco Product Act) takes place. 

Maya Health has identified 10 such wards in Bangalore, Davangere, Bellary, Tumkur and Mysore where such violations take place.

Companies that sell cigarettes target the youth since they are less informed about the harmful effects that cigarettes have on them, said Dr Vijay Lakshmi, Professor of Pediatrics Cardiology at Victoria Hospital. 

She also explained, "Only six puffs are enough to get a child addicted to cigarettes which is the gateway to other types of substance abuse." 

The Consortium For Tobacco Free Karnataka, held an event--Freedom from Tobacco, which was aimed at creating awareness among the youth belonging to different schools across Bangalore. 

The event saw a footfall of about 300 students from eight schools and colleges of Bangalore. 

Venkateshyam, a student  of  class 9 of Little Flower High School said that he had seen many of his classmates and seniors falling prey to peer pressure and start smoking.

Smitha, a teacher at DPS School Bangalore, North said their school holds regular seminars and workshops to sensitise children to the ill effects of tobacco consumption.

While the project initiation and training for the CFTFK app starts this January, they are hopeful that reports sent by the life guards to respective ward councillors will help get a hold of the extent of tobacco violations across the state. 


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