Children raise demand to introduce “Right to Tobacco-Free Schools Bill”


Children raise demand to introduce “Right to Tobacco-Free
Schools Bill”

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Mumbai, 30st May, 2014: The air today at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus reverberated
with enthusiasm. On the occasion of World No Tobacco Day, the children from BMC
and government-aided schools staged an impressive skit dressed as popular
educationists and political leaders instantly caught the attention of commuters as
they performed and rooted for the bill -Right To Tobacco Free Schools (RTTS) to make
their school campuses better place for children to get education in Tobacco-Free
environment.
Children from Salaam Bombay Foundation’s Bal Parishad drafted and submitted
one its kind bill at the BMC commissioner’s office. The bill states the following-
1. To make it mandatory for every school to refrain from allowing any sale of
tobacco products inside the school premises and within the radius of 100 yards
from the school
2. To make it mandatory for every school to have rules of no smoking or chewing
of tobacco inside the premises of the school by the Principals, Teachers, other
staffs, Parents and the visitors to the school.
3. To make it mandatory for every school to have a “Tobacco Control Committee”
chaired by school head/ principal.
4. To integrate tobacco control activities with on-going School Health Program of
the State.
The children also gathered public opinion on the demand for “Right to Tobacco-Free
school bill”. Later in the day, the enthusiastic lot visited the BMC commissioner office
at CST and proposed the authority to introduce the ‘Right to Tobacco Free Schools’
Bill. The children also requested for it to be mandatory for all the schools in
Maharashtra to be tobacco-free.
This activity was undertaken by children who are a part of a programme called Super
Army, developed by Salaam Bombay Foundation that empowers children to wage a
war against tobacco using creative means like art, theatre and music. This
programme, at present, touches upon 22 BMC and government-aided schools across
Mumbai. Super Army is committed to spread awareness against tobacco among
children, their peers and in their community. In the earlier survey, released by
Salaam Bombay Foundation, it was revealed that the recommendations made in the
WHO-Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) for schools are not
being implemented. The survey has shown that most of the schools are still falling
short when putting into effect guidelines recommended by WHO to ensure tobaccofree
schools.
Speaking on the RTTS bill, Ms. Devika Chadha, Programme Director, Salaam Bombay
Foundation said, ‘These children are the future of India and ensuring a healthy future
by asking for tobacco free schools is their right. We are sure that with the
implementation of the RTTS bill, the schools will surely go hundred percent tobaccofree’.
About Salaam Bombay Foundation:
Salaam Bombay Foundation, a non-profit organization, was established in 2002 to empower
children to say no to tobacco. The organization provides children with training, performance
and reflection platforms to develop life skills that lead to personal and vocational
empowerment. These platforms are made available through the Sports, Arts and Tobacco
control advocacy programmes. At Salaam Bombay Foundation, we believe that empowerment
leads to informed decisions. The organization is active in 129 municipal and 37 governmentaided
schools in Mumbai and its outreach programmes have reached 33 districts of rural
Maharashtra.

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