Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”
(New Delhi, India and New York, United States) ––Today, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare unveiled a new four-minute video, called The Price We Pay, to highlight the economic and health impacts of tobacco use. The film, developed with technical support from World Lung Foundation, explains how tobacco ruins livelihoods and lives, using footage of tobacco-related suffering and death seen in Tata Memorial Hospital’s Cancer Ward and information about the financial impact that tobacco has on families. It also calls for increased taxes on tobacco to dissuade tobacco use.
The Price We Pay features interviews with several victims of tobacco use, patients and their families, speaking about the devastating poverty that can be inflicted on a family when the main bread winner gets sick or dies from tobacco–related disease. Among the costs incurred are enormous hospital and treatment expenses, loss of income and the loss of economic prospects and aspirations for the next generation. The film makes a case for implementing strong tobacco control policies such as hard-hitting graphic health warnings and higher tobacco taxes. Produced in collaboration with HEALIS and with footage largely from Tata Memorial Hospital the film will be widely used for World No Tobacco Day events and will also be disseminated online.
The Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS-India) identifies that 27.5 crore people use tobacco in India. Dr. Nandita Murukutla, Country Director, World Lung Foundation, said: “The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare continues to be a strong ally in the fight against tobacco in India and the new film gives them another way to counter the misperception that tobacco use is benign. The Price We Pay clearly articulates the immense physical suffering and economic burden that can strike a tobacco user and his family.”
A significant body of scientific evidence shows hard-hitting campaigns can compel tobacco users to quit, increase knowledge of the health risks of tobacco use, and promote behavior change in both smokers and non-smokers. WLF advises governments and health agencies on campaign planning, ad selection and licensing, and provides technical and financial assistance in media campaign planning in order to deliver the most effective results.
“We are increasingly confident that intense campaigns such as The Price We Pay can make a huge impact if we can get them on the air,” commented Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi, a senior cancer surgeon from Tata Memorial Hospital and a strong anti-tobacco activist.”
According to Dr. P.C. Gupta, Director, Healis – Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health, “The people of India deserve clear, unadulterated information about the consequences of tobacco industry behavior. In this case, we aim to show that tobacco’s harms extend beyond the user’s body, but to the family pocketbook. We hope millions of people will see the video and decide that the suffering caused by tobacco is too high of a price to pay.”
Research has shown that mass media campaigns are one of the most effective means to encourage people to stop smoking. It is one of the World Health Organization’s M-P-O-W-E-R (W=Warn) strategies to reduce tobacco consumption. MPOWER strategies are endorsed and promoted by the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, of which World Lung Foundation is a principal partner.