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India’s Government Applauded on Regulation to Protect Citizens from Tobacco Smoke

Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”

(New York) – World Lung Foundation released today the following statement from Peter Baldini, Executive Director, regarding the Indian government's courageous move to eliminate toxic tobacco smoke from many public places:

“World Lung Foundation commends India's Union Government for demonstrating a firm commitment to protect its citizens from the deadly effects of tobacco smoke. The government has acted responsibly and admirably to protect citizens despite the intense pressure of the tobacco industry to stop the right of citizens to breathe clean air.

Currently, more than 850,000 people die from smoking-related diseases in India every year. The new regulations, which restrict smoking in workplaces, shopping malls, airports, hotels, shops, restaurants and other public places, will undoubtedly save lives and improve the prospects for a healthy citizenry.”

World Lung Foundation worked closely with officials at the Ministry of Health, State governments and civil society partners to develop a comprehensive communication campaign to raise awareness of the revised laws and to build community knowledge of the risks tobacco smoke poses to smokers and non-smokers. The campaign is being supported by the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use. WLF also worked closely with the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, a Bloomberg Initiative partner, to achieve this campaign.

The “Smokefree” campaign, which launches October 2 when the rules go into effect, will consist of a series of public service television advertisements that will air on national and regional TV and radio stations, as well as in print, and on billboards. The campaign focuses on the harms of passive smoking and the effort to enforce the strengthened law. A government website will also be launched to provide information about the regulations and free resources for business owners and managers to comply.