JAMMU: Counselling Cell, Directorate Of School Education Jammu(DSEJ), in collaboration with Directorate of Health Services Jammu, organized a virtual session on ‘Tobacco Free Educational Institutions’ (ToFEI) to generate awareness among the school teachers and other staff members regarding the ill effects of tobacco use and other related issues with the key purpose of accelerating the implementation of Tobacco Free Educational Institutions guidelines.
The session was attended by Officials, HOIs, Teachers, Students and Parents covering Primary, Middle, High and Higher Secondary schools of the Jammu division.
Complementing the efforts of DSEJ on the occasion, Director School Education Jammu Anuradha Gupta advised the stakeholders to reach out at the ground level to make an idea or a policy implementation sustainable. She said that due to the social acceptability and it being legal with certain restrictions, people are unable to realise the serious negative consequences of tobacco use.
She reminded the students to immerse themselves in positive passions instead and channelise their energies towards becoming the ambassadors of best practices like Fit India, Career Counselling, Cyber security etc. She called upon the parents and teachers to, “Be the role models rather than mere preachers who act contrary to their own advice”. Such campaigns should include all the aspects like prevention, education, counselling and vigilance by parents and teachers. School heads must discuss about corrective measures during monthly Parent Teacher meets(PTM’s). Drinking and smoking by girls/ females should not be viewed as a signs of empowerment, she added.
Dr. Mridula Singh, Divisional Nodal Officer for NTCP who was the resource person of the event discussed tobacco related issues in detail including the background of tobacco control, burden of tobacco use in India, overview of National Tobacco Control Program (NTCP) and COPTA 2003 with focus on the guidelines about tobacco free educational institutions. She apprised the participants about the provisions wherein school heads/teachers can issue challans under section 4, 6(a) & 6(b) of Cigarette & Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement & Regulation of Trade & Commerce, Production, Supply & Distribution) Act 2003 against shops/persons for any malpractices outside the premises.
Romesh Kumar Sharma, Head Counselling Cell, termed the Tobacco consumption as a form of behavioural issue, which needs behavioural modification techniques. He added that equipping the faculty counsellors with counselling and cessation counselling skills can help make institutions tobacco free.