After acknowledging that it is critical to ensuring and protecting the public health, the North-Eastern Indian state Manipur issued a notification severing all future collaborations and partnerships with the tobacco industry. The notification also created an “empowered committee” to implement the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control’s (FCTC) Article 5.3; the FCTC policy guideline protects government tobacco control policies and programs from tobacco industry interference and mandates that parties also act in accordance with national law. India’s primary tobacco control law, COTPA—the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (2003)—similarly urges action to protect against the tobacco industry’s objectives. It also prohibits tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship.
In India, 29% of all adults use tobacco, according to the most recent Global Adult Tobacco Survey (2016-27). In Manipur, which is home to over 3.5 million people, the tobacco use prevalence eclipses the national average, hovering just over 55%.
Issued on 28 March, the notification prohibits all public servants from collaborating, cooperating, or partnering with the tobacco industry. Official employees may not accept any direct or indirect contributions from the industry. Signed by Soiminlian Lengen, the Deputy Secretary (Health & FW), this notification was distributed to all state officials, chief medical officials, district nodal officers, and media. It establishes appropriate procedure for tobacco industry interactions and stipulates terms to ensure transparency.
A state-level empowered committee has been deputized to monitor and ensure effective policy implementation. With a diverse group of stakeholders—secretaries and representatives from various departments, including health and family welfare, law and judicial, home, trade, commerce and industry, revenue, information, and public relations—the committee is quite diverse. Civil society partners and media will play a key role in ensuring adherence to the guideline and a whole of government approach by monitoring and reporting violations.
“The Union congratulates Manipur on this important policy achievement,” said Dr Rana J Singh, Deputy Regional Director of The Union. “We are grateful to the State Government of Manipur, the State Tobacco Control Cell, and our partner Sangai Youth Tobacco Free for their unwavering commitment towards tobacco control and safeguarding the public health policies.”
With this milestone, Manipur joins a league of 14 other states that have adopted and implemented similar policy.