GUWAHATI, June 30 - A high-level meeting was held on Tuesday evening at a city hotel under the aegis of Healis�Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health and Dr B Barooah Cancer Institute (BBCI).
The meeting had representations from the State education department, Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Sarba Siksha Abhiyan (SSA), State health department, NGOs and food safety department.�
Chaired by Ramesh Chand Jain, Secretary Secondary Education and Dr Amal Chandra Kataki, Director BBCI, the meeting was mainly to discuss, strategise and work out on areas of collaboration in the Tobacco Free Educational Institutes (TFEI) campaign in Assam. The TFEI campaign focuses on protecting children from the use of tobacco.
Ramesh Jain had instructed the heads of educational institutions and the district education officers to implement the TFEI campaign across the State, as mentioned in his order dated April 26. In addition to this he said, �This is a good campaign and should be extended to drugs, alcohol which are destroying our society. So we all should work together to make our schools �nasha mukt�. �
He said, �There have been various ways of implementing this campaign. Whatsapp groups have been formed district-wise to promote the campaign and there should be short awareness sessions in morning assemblies every month in all educational institutions of Assam.�
Healis and Tata Trusts in association with the State education department had launched the TFEI campaign in Assam on World Environment Day, June 5, this year.�
Supporting the campaign, the RMSA has sent SMSs to all the 4316 heads of secondary educational institutions across the State, reminding them to implement the orders and declare their institutions tobacco-free. Apoorva Thakuriya, State Programme Officer SSA said, �We are starting to send the SMSs from next week to all 47,813 elementary schools of Assam.��
Dr Amal Chandra Kataki,�Director of Dr B Barooah Cancer Institute said, �We must do everything to prevent our future generations from these deadly tobacco products. Tobacco being the singlemost preventable cause of death, if this campaign is implemented properly, we will be successful in keeping our school children away from tobacco addiction and we all must come forward to take up this mission.� He appreciated the participation by all the government departments and various NGOs at the meeting.�
Over 85 lakh adults are consuming tobacco in some or the other form in Assam as per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2010. One-third of these would die an untimely death due to tobacco-related diseases. Every year Assam witnesses 29,600 deaths due to tobacco consumption.