Kerala’s private healthcare sector goes tobacco smoke-free

Kochi, November 8 – Even while India is hosting the Conference of Parties of the World Health Organisation’s treaty – Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) – to rally support for 100 per cent smoke-free public places among others, Kerala’s private healthcare sector has declared all its institutions smoke-free.

The private sector, which caters to over 70 per cent of healthcare requirements in the state has become completely tobacco smoke-free as part of its patient-welfare ad public health measure, said the State President of Kerala Private Hospitals Association (KPHA) Dr PK Mohamed Rasheedafter a meeting of the association here today.

All private hospitals have set up ‘no smoking’ warning boards and measures are on to install pictorial signages as mandated by the Section 4 of the Indian tobacco control law COTPA, 2003.

Once this process is complete, we will upload details of smoke-free and COTPA compliant status of private hospitals in the official website of the association, added the President.

“As physicians, doctors and hospital managers, we realise the multitude harms of smoking, second-hand smoke and tobacco  use and as such, this step forward is part of our efforts to control tobacco use and thereby incidence of non-communicable diseases in our state”, Dr Rasheed said.

“One-to-one counselling and education efforts with focus on current smokers and tobacco users are also on in full steam. Over the years, we have used every possible forum for interaction with students to educate them on tobacco harms and prevent their initiation into this habit,” said Secretary, KPHA Adv.HussainKoyaThangal.

KPHA is the largest representative body of private sector hospitals in the state. About two-thirds hospitals having 10 beds or more are part of the association.

It was in May this year that KPHA and its member bodies initiated a formal process of ensuring that all its member institutions are smoke-free in the interest of public health.

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