Seminar on Alcohol and Tobacco Abuse at KMC
MANIPAL: The Department of Community Medicine, Kasturba Medical College (KMC) in association with the Centre for Addiction Medicine and Centre for Public Health, NIMHANS, Bengaluru, organized the International Seminar on Alcohol and Tobacco Abuse on August 1 at the KMC Interact Hall.
The chief guest, Prof John Britton, Director, UK Centre for Alcohol and Tobacco Studies, University of Nottingham stated that developing countries with a large youth population are an emerging market for multinational companies selling alcohol and tobacco products. He remarked that India is a decade or two away from being at par with the pattern of decline in consumption of alcohol and tobacco that developed countries are undergoing today.
Dr Girish Rao, one of the guests of honour and the head of Centre for Public Health at NIMHANS stated that people must start looking at “where the system has failed with regard to issues related to health”. The seminar also included a presentation by Dr Monica Arora from the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), New Delhi who discussed government policies concerning addiction, including COTPA (Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act), and the widespread issue of substance abuse.
The panel of dignitaries at the seminar || Photograph Courtesy: Akshay Varghese
Emphasising on the need for change, Dr Purnima Baliga, Pro-Vice Chancellor-Health Sciences, MU said that studies will have to be done with the aim of making a long-lasting impact. “Researchers have to stop using the word don’t”, said Dr Baliga, explaining how banning alcohol and tobacco products only incites rebellion and increases consumption, especially among youth. She concluded on a hopeful note by saying that with perseverance, Udupi can become a tobacco free district.
A panel of various stake holders from governmental and private institutions, including members of the police department and the district civil court judge, were present at the seminar. Deliberating on the issue of substance abuse, they expressed varying opinions yet agreed that laws will have to be stricter and followed reverently. One of the consensuses reached was that even milder cases of addiction should be given due importance so as to make a true difference.
Edited by Sruti Srinivasan
Featured Image Courtesy: Akshay Varghese