Teachers to become champions for promoting tobacco free schools
Owing to the alarming number of people, especially children, getting addicted to tobacco in the state, the Education Department, Government of West Bengal (WB)organized two sensitization workshops for teachers and Principals.These were held on 19th& 20thAugust at the District Inspector’s Office, Kolkata with technical support by Sambandh Health Foundation (SHF) and Narayana Super Speciality Hospital, Howrah.
The workshop had around 500 participants including Principals and Teachers from Secondary Schools across Kolkata district. It was held with active support and coordination from Shri Khagendra Nath Roy,District Inspector of Schools, Kolkata. The participants also took an anti-tobacco pledge during the workshop.
Kartick Chandra Manna, Chairman Kolkata Primary School Council and Chairman of Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan said, "The initiative taken by the school Education Department of West Bengal in collaboration with Sambandh Health Foundation to make tobacco free education Institution is a very effective step in West Bengal at this point in time.”
The major focus of this workshop was to sensitize the teachers about the tobacco epidemic and get their support in preventing initiation of tobacco consumption among youth.Teachers were explained about the ToFEI guidelines in detail and damage to health caused by use of tobacco among their students, and how important it was to protect the children from tobacco.
Guidelines for Tobacco Free Educational Institutes (ToFEI) require no tobacco usage within educational institutions, no sale within 100 yards of schools and mandatory signage in every Educational Institute (EI). The guidelines also requireanti-tobacco activities to be conducted in each EI atleastevery six months such as displaying posters, pledge, etc.
Applauding efforts of the Education Department, WB,DrApurva Garg, Head &Neck Surgery-Oncologist, Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Howrah said, “Mypatients, who undergo major oral cancer surgeries, undergo huge trauma, financial ruin forthe family and loss and almost 50% do not survive more than a year. They all repent whythey consumed tobacco. Hence, prevention is the best way to reduce the cancers and many other fatal diseases.”
Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS 2017) revealed thatin West Bengal, 2.3 crore adults either smoke tobacco and/or use smokeless tobacco. More than 1.5 lakh die untimely deaths every year due to tobacco related diseases. What is even more shocking is that every day 438 children get introduced to tobacco in West Bengal.
Susanto Kumar Panda, District Inspector Primary Education and Mr. PurnoChandra Jana, Deputy Director of School Education (Basic) were also present.
“We appeal to the school Education department of West Bengal to take necessary actions for creating tobacco free schools in West Bengal along with introduction of anti-tobacco activities at the school level which will motivate students, staff, teachers and also parents to stay away from tobacco consumption,” urged Shiboprasad Mukherjee, an eminent filmmaker.