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Module to end tobacco use

Jorhat, Dec. 2: The vice-chancellor of Dibrugarh University, Alak Kumar Burahgohain, is considering the incorporation of a special teaching module as part of efforts to make the university tobacco-free in the long run.

Burahgohain told The Telegraph over phone that a multi-pronged strategy would have to be adopted in order to sustain a tobacco-free environment in the university, once implemented.

“There are three strategies that can be taken up. One, a credit course on hazards of tobacco use and other materials can be made part of the curriculum. Two, a sustained awareness campaign can be launched. Finally, fines can be imposed and provisions of Cigarette and Other Tobacco Product Act, 2003 (COPTA) implemented within the statutory framework of the university,” he said.

The campaigns will be in the forms of seminars, short films and other activities.

However, legal implementation will take time.

Dibrugarh University has adopted a course credit system in which the student has to take 85 course credits of one’s own subject and 15 course credits of any other subject.

Bhaktimoy Bhattacharjee, the nodal officer of Jorhat district tobacco control cell, welcomed the initiative and said the vice-chancellor had sought his help in implementing the campaign.

Arundhati Deka, the state tobacco cell control officer, also promised technical help in formulating the syllabus.

Jiten Hazarika, the professor of statistics, Dibrugarh University, in a study on employees of the North Eastern Coalfields, Coal India, Margherita showed that use of tobacco and its products had nothing to do with higher levels of education or lower levels of income. What was required was a sustained awareness campaign.

Bhattacharjee said principals of colleges and teachers of higher education institutes here recently evinced interest in finding ways to keep their institutes tobacco-free and involve students in the campaign.

He added that teachers of the eight tobacco-free institutes declared in the district were working to free villages in the vicinity of the use of tobacco. Chitralekha High School had succeeded in making 100 houses free of tobacco in the Soongi area of Titabar. Gorumara High School had taken up Gana Sakai village, Jorhat College (Amalgamated) the Hahnpuria village and Teok CKB Commerce College had taken up Jagduar Gayan Gaon.

Other places in which the institutes were working are ward numbers six and 14 of Jorhat Municipal Board, Pengeria village and Teok’s Nepali Xatra.