Panaji, Dec 8 (PTI) Goa-headquartered NGO National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication Saturday welcomed the Union Health ministry’s initiative to make government offices and buildings tobacco-free. Also Read - Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi Moves Out of Delhi to Goa With Son Rahul To Avoid Pollution

Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan had recently written to chief secretaries of states to make offices and buildings of their respective governments tobacco-free in order to protect public health. Also Read - Goa Congress Spokesperson Resigns Citing 'Disunity'

The letter added that state governments would get technical help in this regard from the Union Health ministry. Also Read - AirAsia India to Start Flights on Goa-Hyderabad Route From November 18

“We welcome such an initiative which will go a long way to save people from falling prey to tobacco. Recently the Union Health and Family Welfare ministry made its Nirman Bhawan office tobacco-free. It is an appreciable step,” said NOTE general secretary Shekhar Salkar.

Salkar, an oncologist with a private hospital here, said tobacco was the leading preventable cause of death worldwide, adding that India was the third largest tobacco-producing and second largest tobacco-consuming nation.

He said that according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2016-17 (GATS-2), the number of tobacco related deaths per day in India was 3,700, or about 154 every hour.

“Tobacco use is highly detrimental to health. It is a major risk factor for cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic lung disease, stroke, infertility, blindness, tuberculosis and oral cavity,” he added.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.