File Photo: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma

Tobacco companies employ innumerable tactics to market their products to underage children and adolescents, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said on May 31.

Meghalaya ranks fifth with 47 per cent tobacco user and second in the country at 31.6 per cent in smoking next to Mizoram and 15th in the country for smokeless forms at 20.3 per cent.

Among the users, 59.8 per cent are male and 34.2 per cent are female, according to second round of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS 2) 2016–17.

In a message on ‘World No Tobacco Day’, Sangma exhorted all young adults to protect themselves and others from the ill effects of tobacco. “It is important that we are informed of the manipulative tactics of industries to educate ourselves in order to safeguard and protect our children and young adults from being lured into these dangerous habits,” the chief minister said.

He said proactive steps are needed from all stakeholders to enable us to build a generation that is free from tobacco and nicotine use and the death and disease that its causes.

Echoing the chief minister, Health and Family Welfare Minister Alexander Laloo Hek said the main intention of the tobacco industry is to catch them young, but the youth need to understand the ill effects of all tobacco products.

“There is an urgent need for the youth to act responsibly to the community and in any platform, they are in, to reach out and connect with each other and expose the intention of the industries,” Hek said.

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