Over 2 crore schoolchildren in Bihar on Wednesday took pledge not to consume tobacco, which has more than half of the state’s population under its grip. The occasion was to mark the ‘No tobacco Pledge Day’ by the Cancer Awareness Society (CAS).
In a simple function at Gandhi Maidan on Wednesday morning, deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi administered the oath of not using tobacco to around 4,000 schoolchildren of 25 schools of the state capital.
Speaking on the occasion, Modi said, “When children will tell grown-ups to shun tobacco, the outcome will be positive. They will feel ashamed and it is possible that they, too, vow to quit the habit.”
Modi also said that though the state government had imposed ban on ‘gutkha’ in May this year, though the ban is not that much effective.
“Vigorous campaign against tobacco-use is necessary to solve the problem. We will also encourage farmers to cultivate pulses instead of tobacco,” he said.
“ November 7 will be observed as ‘Pratigya diwas’ in the state to make children aware about harmful effects of smoking cigarette or any other form of tobacco products.” CAS national president, TP Sinha, national vice-president AA Hai and others were present at the oath-taking ceremony.
According to Global Adult Tobacco Survey, 53.5% of Bihar’s population consume tobacco or its related products. Of them, 66% are men. Bihar has the highest number of tobacco addicts and its products among the bigger states and sixth highest in the country after five smaller states like Mizoram, Manipur and Meghalaya, said the report.