It was a happy moment to cherish. The GATS (2015-16) factsheet, shows that in the last 7 years, the prevalence of tobacco use in Karnataka has reduced by 5.4 percentage points. This s a relative reduction of 19.1%. More importantly, there has been a reduction (to a tune of 3.1 percentage points) in the prevalence of both smoking and smokeless tobacco. The average age of initiation into tobacco use has gone up from 17.7 years to 19.8 years. Advertising/promotion of tobacco by tobacco industry has gone down substantially, while there is a significant increase in exposure of people to anti-tobacco messages. This is particularly heartening as not many states revealed encouraging results and Karnataka inspite of being a tobacco industry hub has managed to witness such a massive reduction.
While this is an outcome of several individuals and organizations including the strong political will of the state leaders, IPH’s intensive efforts (since 2009) at facilitating policy implementation and policy change is certainly an important part of this story.
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