GUWAHATI, April 21 - Tears You Apart, an anti-tobacco campaign filmed at the B Borooah Cancer Institute here and at the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, featuring the experiences of smokeless tobacco victims and their families, has earned global acclaim.
Tears You Apart is a powerful, multi-channel campaign focusing on a public service announcement (PSA) to warn people about the health, social and economic harms of smokeless tobacco, which is used by tens of millions of Indians every day.
The campaign features real victims who are suffering from horrific cancers and disfigurements as a result of their chewing addiction. It also includes the victims� relatives, who describe how these illnesses have destroyed careers, family life, and added to financial burdens.
Tears You Apart is being broadcast on the channels of public service broadcaster Doordarshan�� across all states and in regional languages � till early June 2016. The PSA is being broadcast on 66 satellite channels till April 23. This includes major private TV channels such as CNN/IBN, Colors TV, India Today, Sony Entertainment, Star Plus, VH1, Zee TV and Zee Cinema. There is also a significant outdoor campaign, with messages and images from Tears You Apart featured on the exterior of railway trains on major routes across eight states until September 2016.
Commenting on the campaign, Dr AC Kakati, Director of BBCI said that mass media campaigns and graphic health warnings on tobacco packs are one of the most effective means to curb smoking.
�The serious health hazards of tobacco consumption are scientifically established. Tobacco addiction in different forms, especially smokeless tobacco, is growing and it is entrapping a big population of children and teenagers. Campaigns such as this can be very effective in reducing tobacco use,� he said, adding that the regulation of smokeless tobacco products should be tightly integrated into tobacco control policies.
Tears You Apart will soon be broadcast in cinemas and on TV under the �Film Rule.� An innovative and integral part of India�s tobacco control Act, the Film Rule requires that warnings about tobacco�s harms are shown before and during films and television shows that portray tobacco consumption.
Global health experts Vital Strategies, comprising The Union North America and World Lung Foundation, that provided technical support to the making of the campaign, has congratulated the Government of India on the campaign.
Jos� Luis Castro, president and CEO, Vital Strategies, said, �We congratulate the Government of India on this campaign and are delighted that it will reach so many Indians across a variety of media. It is particularly important that it will be used to counter positive images of tobacco use in films and TV programmes.
�India is facing an increasing burden of non-communicable disease, for which tobacco use is a leading risk factor, and an economic burden from tobacco-related disease of more than 1.4 trillion rupees every year. This powerful, emotive campaign empowers victims and their families to show how smokeless tobacco tears lives apart.�
Vital Strategies is an affiliate of The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union).
According to The Tobacco Atlas, nearly a quarter (23.2 per cent) of adult males, 3.2 per cent of adult females, 5.8 per cent of boys and 2.4 per cent of girls smoke tobacco in India. Smokeless tobacco use is even more popular, especially among lower socio-economic groups and women. More than a quarter (26 per cent) of adults use smokeless tobacco � one of the highest levels of prevalence in the world.
In total, more than 2,542,000 children and more than 120,000,000 adults in India use tobacco each day. As the use of all forms of tobacco has increased, so have tobacco-related diseases and premature deaths. Tobacco is the cause of 14.3 per cent of male deaths and 4.7 per cent of female deaths in India, killing over 981,100 Indian citizens every year.