Programme and policy perspectives towards a tobacco-free generation in India: findings from a qualitative study

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BMJ Open


Objective This study explored multistakeholder perspectives on existing adolescent-specific tobacco control policies and programmes, to advance India's transition towards a tobacco-free generation. Design Qualitative semi-structured interviews. Setting Interviews were conducted with officials involved in tobacco control at the national (India), state (Karnataka), district (Udupi) and village level. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically. Participants Thirty-eight individuals representing national (n=9), state (n=9), district (n=14) and village (n=6) levels, participated. Results The study findings highlighted the need to strengthen and amend the existing Tobacco Control Law (2003) provisions, particularly in the vicinity of schools (Sections 6a and 6b). Increasing the minimum legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21 years, developing an € application' for € compliance and monitoring indicators' in Tobacco-Free Educational Institution guidelines were proposed. Policies to address smokeless tobacco use, stricter enforcement including regular monitoring of existing programmes, and robust evaluation of policies was underscored. Engaging adolescents to co-create interventions was advocated, along with integrating national tobacco control programmes into existing school and adolescent health programmes, using both an intersectoral and whole-societal approach to prevent tobacco use, were recommended. Finally, stakeholders mentioned that when drafting and implementing a comprehensive national tobacco control policy, there is a need to adopt a vision striving toward a tobacco-free generation. Conclusion Strengthening and developing tobacco control programmes and policies are warranted which are monitored and evaluated rigorously, and where adolescents should be involved, accordingly.



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