World Conference on Tobacco or Health begins in Mumbai

Mumbai, March 8 (IANS) The 14th World Conference on Tobacco or Health – the largest meet of anti-tobacco advocates, health experts, scientists and educators – began in Mumbai Sunday. It is the first time the event is being held in India.

More than 2000 delegates from across the world are attending the conference at the National Centre for Performing Arts. It will end March 12.

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Maharashtra Governor S.C. Jamir inaugurated the conference.

In his address, the governor said that tobacco consumption was causing millions of deaths in India alone, which is a matter of concern for the government.

“Use of tobacco is major cause of diseases, but it is affecting poor people hard,” Jamir said.

He said that tobacco companies were minting money at the cost of human lives.

Other dignitaries present at the inaugural conference included central Health and Family Welfare minister Anbumani Ramadoss and Maharashtra Home Minister Jayant Patil.

In her pre-recorded keynote address, World Health Organisation Director General Dr Margaret Chan emphasised the need for creating more awareness among youngsters across the world. “Tobacco control is greatest opportunity to save the people, particularly young,” she said.

The WHO chief assured full support in fight against tobacco use. “Increasing the price of tobacco products is one of the important measure to control tobacco use,” she said, adding this was opposed by the tobacco industry.

“Unquestionably, tobacco control is must, one billion lives would be lost in this century if it failed,” Chan said.