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  • Bengaluru doctor wins international award for role in fight against tobacco

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    Cancer specialist US Vishal Rao of Bengaluru has been honoured with the 2017 Judy Wilkenfeld Award for International Tobacco Control Excellence, for his role in combating tobacco use in the country. Dr. Rao was presented the award on Wednesday at an event organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in Washington D.C.

    Dr. Rao’s efforts led to a ban on gutka, chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes in Karnataka. However, the State government recently overturned the ban on chewing tobacco. Dr. Rao is a member of the High-powered Committee on Tobacco Control instituted by he Government of Karnataka. He is also the inventor of a Rs. 50 voice box prosthetic for throat cancer patients whose larynx has been removed.

    “With strong government commitment and advocates willing to champion the cause, we can greatly reduce the burden of tobacco use in India,” he added.

    “The committee gave the award in recognition of the steps taken towards implementing the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition) Act, and how Karnataka led the way in this,” said Dr. Rao, speaking over telephone from Washigton. “Another was the implementation of the ban on gutka and chewing tobacco by the Government of Karnataka,” he added.

    Dr. Rao said that the battle continued with the recent order from the Food Safety Commissionerate reversing the ban on chewing tobacco. “We have written to the State government that the order contravenes its commitment made to the Supreme Court to ban chewing tobacco and gutka,” said Dr. Rao.

    The Wilkenfeld Award was established in honour of Judy Wilkenfeld, the founder of Tobacco-Free Kids’ international program. Dr. Rao is the second Indian to receive the award, the first being Pankaj Chaturvedi of Tata Memorial Hospital in 2013.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Bengaluru / by Staff Reporter , Cinthya Anand / Bengaluru – May 12th, 2017

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