PECUC Sparks National Conversation: Preserving the Future and Bringing Leaders Together to Protect Youth from Tobacco

New Delhi, January 31, 2024: People’s Cultural Centre (PECUC), a well-known non-governmental organization, in association with ‘Coalition of Tobacco Free Odisha’ organised a National Consultation on Safeguarding Future on January 30, at the Deputy Speaker Hall, Constitution Club of India, Delhi, in an important effort to stop the growing problem of youth tobacco use.

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The title of the event, “Safeguarding Future: Protecting Youth from Tobacco,” was to provide a venue for inclusive collaboration between youth ambassadors, civil society organizations, healthcare professionals, and members of parliament. The primary objectives were to tackle pressing issues of youth tobacco use and to develop all-encompassing strategies for protection and prevention.

Prominent oncologist Dr. Ranjeet Kar illuminated the significant harm that tobacco causes to one’s health by highlighting its correlation with a range of cancers and other illnesses that not only affect individuals but also effect everything from female infertility to cardiac arrest.

Advocate Ranjeet Singh emphasized the youth’s dual position as both the problem and the solution. He underlined the necessity of strict laws, such as prohibiting the sale of single sticks and hukka bars. Mr. Singh exhorted the younger generation to speak up for change and be instrumental in changing the way society views tobacco.

A number of Parliamentarians took an active part in the conversations. Mahesh Sahu, Member of Parliament, underlined that, in light of the enormous medical expenses linked to tobacco-related illnesses, both the central and state governments must work together to reduce tobacco usage.

Niranjan Bishi ,MP emphasized the need of raising awareness among children enrolled in school while endorsing the effort to rid Odisha of tobacco use.

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While appreciating PECUC’s efforts, Sulata Deo, Member of Parliament, suggested stringent laws along with strengthening COTPA and strict vigilance of sale of tobacco products close to colleges and schools.

Stuti Ranjan Pradhan, Manas Padhy, Nikki Malik, Sashmita and other Youth Ambassadors of different states suggested to increase the legal age of tobacco usage to 21,raise the price of tobacco and outlawing the sale of single stick .

Sujeet Kumar, Member of Parliament, said, ” We need stringent law.We also need to work at ground level towards this as we are in direct contact with the people .

Bhubaneswar Kalita, Member Rajya Sabha, praised PECUC’s initiative and suggested a multipronged strategy to establish a tobacco-free India that includes laws, levies, public health initiatives, and community campaigns.

Muzibullah Khan, Member of Rajyasabha Odisha, said that smoking has become a fashion among youngsters. Foremost, the parents should guide their children about its repercussions. We all need to work together for bringing desired change.

Ranjan Kumar Mohanty, Secretary, PECUC welcomed the guests and moderated the event. Anuradha Mohanty, Executive Director of PECUC, thanked everyone for coming, especially the young people, for supporting the effort and a tobacco-free society as the event came to an end.