The Tobacoo Awreness Programme / Home
  The Tobacco Awareness Programmes :
1. The school level programmes :
These programmes are held in selected schools. The method comprises holding of a one day camp using slide shows, group songs, group discussions and individual counseling for known addicts. The school teachers are requested for help in follow up. The SEARCH team also follows up the students periodically during the academic session. From August 1997 to March 2007, 3o schools in Gadchiroli district have been covered.
2. The village level programmes :
These programmes are held with the active cooperation of the Youth clubs, Women's groups, Gram Panchayat and elders in the village. The method of education comprises slide shows and discussions. Motivational songs are an integral part of the programme.
The school level tobacco awareness programme: A debate competition as a method
During April to October 2007 the school level awareness programmes adopted the method of debate competition for school students. The debate was on the resolution "In the opinion of the house, tobacco and/or alcohol consumption by human beings is beneficial for them" Being a debate competition, there had to be speakers "for" and :against" the statement. This method was tried in 19 schools in three blocks (Chamorshi, Gadchiroli and Aarmori) of the Gadchiroli district. The idea was to bring out the notions and perceptions of the students regarding the matter. Prizes were announced for 3 best speakers. The students speaking "against" narrated the problems a family faces because of the addiction of the elders in the family (especially the father). For some of the speakers, it was an emotional issue as it was a real life personal suffering for them. In one school a students speaking "for" opined that tobacco consumption must be OK nay good since the teachers who were the role models of the students were seen to consume tobacco.
This statement not only embarrassed the teachers but also led to an announcement by the Head Master of the school that consumption of tobacco by a teacher while on school campus would attract a fine of Rs 50/-. Perceived utility of tobacco consumption alleviating problems such as stomach ache or tooth ache were cited by the students speaking "for". It was argued that regular use of tobacco to clean teeth provided protection from infection. In each school, after the debate competition, the team from SEARCH took up each of the issues raised during the debate and explained to the students that consumption of tobacco was indeed harmful and the price paid for perceived (misconceived) benefits was too heavy.