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JAMMU: On the eve of the World No Tobacco Day which was created by the member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1987, the scientific and supporting staff of the Regional Horticultural Research Station of SKUAST-J, organized an awareness programme at Sartangal Farm, wherein Dr. Mahital Jamwal, Head of the station, draw attention of the youth of the region to the widespread prevalence of the tobacco use and to its negative health effects on human beings, which currently lead to nearly 6 million deaths each year worldwide. He demonstrated threats that the tobacco industry poses to sustainable development, including the health and economic well-being of citizens in all countries, for which the theme was focused during last year as "a threat to development” and in the current as 'Tobacco Breaks Hearts: Choose health, not tobacco'.

Dr. Neeraj Kotwal, Scientist of the station, told that WHO with the theme ″Tobacco-Free Youth″ called for a worldwide ban on all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in 1988 and since then has presented awards to organizations/ individuals who have made exceptional contributions to reducing tobacco consumption. He emphasized that groups from local clubs to city councils to national governments should be encouraged to organize events to help communities celebrate ‘World No Tobacco Day’ at all corners of the society and events like letter writing campaigns, marches, public debates, local and national publicity campaigns, anti-tobacco activist meetings, educational programming and public art should be organized. Dr. Manoj Sharma, Dr. Sanjeev Kumar, Dr. D.K. Chauhan and Dr. Rohit Sharma, scientists of the station gave lectures on different techniques to keep the society especially youth away from tobacco consumption.

The day was met with enthusiasm and healthy discussion on 'Tobacco Breaks Hearts: Choose health, not tobacco' among the staff and the youth of the region. Others who spoke during the event were Mr. Altaf Hussain Vachkoo, Mr. Rajesh K Sharma, Mr. Kashmir Singh, Ms. Sabiha Taranum, Mr. Abdul Rashid, Mr. Abdul Hamid, Mr. Abdul Rashid and Mr. Pappu Ram.