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|Year : 2010 | Volume
| Issue : 5 | Page : 2-
Tobacco control research in India
President, 14th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health, Director, Healis - Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health, 601/B Great Eastern Chambers, Plot no. 28, Sector 11, CBD Belapur, Navi Mumbai - 400 614, India
P C Gupta
President, 14th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health, Director, Healis - Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health, 601/B Great Eastern Chambers, Plot no. 28, Sector 11, CBD Belapur, Navi Mumbai - 400 614
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Gupta P C. Tobacco control research in India.Indian J Cancer 2010;47:2-2
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Gupta P C. Tobacco control research in India. Indian J Cancer [serial online] 2010 [cited 2022 Jan 18 ];47:2-2
Available from: https://www.indianjcancer.com/text.asp?2010/47/5/2/63931
It gives me great pleasure to note that the Indian Journal of Cancer is bringing out a special issue on tobacco, to commemorate the hosting of the 14 th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health (WCTOH), which took place from 8 to 12 March, 2009, in Mumbai, India. By any standard, it was the largest conference on any public health topic in India, and one of the best WCTOH ever held. The Conference was attended by over 2000 delegates from over a 100 countries.
This WCTOH was hosted in a developing country after a gap of 12 years and probably for the first time. The number of participants from developing countries (1100) exceeded those from the industrialized economies. This was possible due to the generous support provided by the Indian hosts - 287 full and 23 partial scholarships were bestowed on delegates from the low and low-middle income countries.
The Conference had a rich scientific program, with 126 scientific sessions. India-specific tobacco control issues were exclusively discussed in three India-Hour sessions. A total of 835 abstracts were submitted to the Conference, of which 395 were presented orally and 440 through posters. About 203 well-known, international experts in various areas of tobacco control delivered invited talks in hemi-plenary, symposia, and panel discussion sessions. In addition to an international youth conference, a total of 23 pre- or post-conference workshops and meetings were held in conjunction with 14 th WCTOH.
The main objective of the World Conference on Tobacco Or Health is to boost global tobacco control. The major objective of hosting the 14 WCTOH in India was to further stimulate tobacco control in India. To that end, the Conference was successful in attracting a large number of senior government officials, including ministers from the Central as well as State levels, as participants in various capacities. Further stimulation of tobacco control in India was achieved by bringing in a large number of delegates from the country, with financial support whenever required. As a result of these efforts, 575 delegates from India covering a wide spectrum of state governments, academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations were able to attend the Conference.
One crucial factor for advancing tobacco control in India is tobacco control research. This requirement is much more intense in India than in most other countries, because of the complex nature of the tobacco problem in India. In most countries, tobacco problem is synonymous with a cigarette problem, for which a plethora of research findings are available. In contrast, in India tobacco is used in a variety of ways, for smoking (in addition to cigarette) as well as smokeless use. These require an India-specific research. Many forms of smokeless tobacco use are intimately connected with betel quid and areca nut use. Betel quid and areca nut use in India, pre-dates the introduction of tobacco in India by well over a millennium. Betel quid and areca nut are thus ingrained into Indian culture and enjoy deep social acceptance. Because of this association, smokeless tobacco use has gone into the same category, presenting challenging tobacco-control issues. A special problem in India is the extremely large number of workers employed in the tobacco industry, as also a large number of tobacco farmers and retailers of tobacco products. In the Indian democratic system, such a large number of people dependent on tobacco for their livelihood provide a unique source of political power to the tobacco industry, unavailable to it in any other country. This is all in addition to the deep pockets and mammoth economic might of the tobacco industry, a huge problem, similar to many other countries.
It is therefore a matter of great satisfaction that all articles in this issue are focusing on various aspects of the tobacco problem in India. I hope that this attempt will be a great impetus in further encouraging tobacco control research in India.