Hyderabad: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has recently adopted a code of conduct that restricts officials and staff from collaborating with the tobacco industry. The move is aimed at discouraging public health officials, who are involved in implementing tobacco control programmes, to directly interact with the influential tobacco industry.
“There is an irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry and public health. Tobacco industry use their enormous power to influence policies and keep doing all possible manipulations and interference in public health. To discourage such conflicts, the Health Ministry has introduced the new code of conduct,” members of Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) in a press release said.
According to VHAI, the restrictions are in line with Article 5.3 of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which calls for protection of public health policies from the commercial interests of the tobacco industry.
The guideline also restricts any interaction with the industry unless it is strictly necessary to effectively regulate or control the industry and its products. One of the recommendations in the guidelines for implementation of Article 5.3 is that the state parties should interact with the tobacco industry only when it is strictly necessary to enable them to effectively regulate the tobacco industry and tobacco products,” the press release added.
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