Tobacco prevention and treatment Program with Srilankan Arm Forces
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Social mobilization Unit, Sri Lanka
Publication date: 2019-03-26
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2019;5(Supplement):A123
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Tobacco prevalence rate in Sri Lanka between the age of 18 and 30 is 34% during the past few years and this rate was decreasing by 5% per year. One of the main reasons for this 34% was the tobacco allowance (Rs.500 per person) given to the three forces by the government. Tobacco industry built up a huge market in forces by doing this a s strategic move. When the forces people who are considered as heroes, use tobacco eventually the community took it as an example.

ADIC together with the Defense Ministry carried out Tobacco prevention programs island wide. For all three forces (Army, Navy & Air force). This process included tobacco awareness sessions, short movies and video programs which were aimed at how the tobacco company attracts the individuals into tobacco usage. Also the methods and the strategies the tobacco company uses to tactfully attract young people. All the officials in the three forces and the other ranks were included in the programmes and 35,000 individuals were given the trainings during the year 2017-2018 through direct discussions and awareness sessions. Over 42 Navy camps, 37 Air Force bases and 73 Army camps were covered under these sessions. According to the researches carried out before the beginning of the program the tobacco usage was around 48% in the selected samples. End of the program we managed to bring it down to 28% which was a drastic drop. The research results proved that 20% had quit the tobacco usage. Sample evaluation reports indicated that 7700 individuals have completely stopped the usage of tobacco and nearly another 8200 have reduced the usage after the programmes. For the worst addicted group ADIC provided counseling services to first, reduce the usage of tobacco and aiming to completely quit tobacco usage eventually.

Further they went to the extent of requesting the authorities to stop tobacco allowance for the three forces. As a result the defense ministry has introduced a policy to stop the tobacco allowance. The Ministry is in the verge of introducing a new policy to recognize and reward the nonsmokers in all three forces. In 2018 Army commander ordered to all army premises must stop tobacco selling. We identified 498 forces family’s that increase their savings after Quit their fathers tobacco usage.

Discussions and the awareness sessions carried out were effective mechanisms for reducing tobacco usage in all three forces.

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