"The state of Jammu and Kashmir is fast emerging as the smoking capital of north India", Media Officer VHAI, Binoy Mathew, said at a media sensitisation workshop for working journalists in Jammu on Tobacco Control Laws–COTPA 2003.

The objective of the workshop was to sensitise the state level key media persons on the various aspects of tobacco control measures, implementation of COTPA 2003 and related issues.
"Jammu & Kashmir has 12 percent cigarette smokers, 3.8 percent bidi smokers and 8.0 percent smokeless tobacco users", he said.
Binoy further said "J&K's cigarette use prevalence (12 percent) is almost double the nationwide prevalence of 5.7 percent".
"It has come to light that the highest proportion of adults (67.9 percent) exposed to tobacco smoke in offices are in J&K and the lowest (15.4 percent) are in Chandigarh," he added.

Uber Altaf, Programme Officer VHAI, spoke on how to make educational institutions in Jammu region tobacco free by involving Chief Education Officer, Zonal Educational Officer, Principals and concerned SHO.

There was discussion and interactions over the tobacco control laws in the state, the role played by NGOs and Civil Society in combating the same and the level of intervention and initiatives at the policy level of the concerned government departments and Ministries, Media Consultant, Tobacco Control, J&K, Shafat Kira said.

Kira said that an appeal was made to the media persons to play an active role to support for the tobacco control programmes in Jammu and to play a very proactive role as agents of positive change in society.

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