On World No Tobacco Day, Fortis Hospitals collaborated with students to create awareness on passive smoking

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Street plays were performed to educate citizens on ill effects of Second and Third Hand Smoking

Bengaluru, May 31, 2017: Fortis Hospitals, Bangalore, on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day (May 31) collaborated with National School of Journalism (NSoJ) and other student community to create awareness regarding passive smoking.  The initiative aimed at educating citizens on ill effects of Second Hand Smoking (SHS) where the students performed street plays to connect with audience and sharing the knowledge. As a part of the initiative, students also moved around the city and distributed car fresheners that reminded people not to smoke in their cars and asked them to pledge as well.

According to Indian Journal of Public Health, ‘Exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) causes an estimated 5% of the global disease burden, slightly higher than the burden from direct use of tobacco. There is the urgent need to address this ignored public health issue by educating audience on impact of SHS on those exposed. The burden of morbidity from SHS exposure is higher in low-income countries in Southeast Asia region compared to the rest of the world. SHS exposure affects those most vulnerable, especially women and children.

In line with this Dr KS Satish, Pulmonologist, Fortis Hospitals, Cunningham Road said, “Globally, passive smoking, tobacco smoke present in environment, or secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure cause nearly 603,000 early deaths of non-smokers. The associated ailments include heart disease, lung cancer, severe asthma attacks, sudden infant death syndrome and many others similar conditions. Adults and children particularly with pre-existing conditions such as asthma and other chronic illness are more vulnerable to harmful effects of second and third hand smoking. By smoking, it’s not only the health of the smoker that is being affected, but the environment also is becoming unhealthy for other living beings. At Fortis Hospitals, we continuously try to provide health education to people. This is yet another step where we believe we can reach out to public and alert them on impact exposure to passive smoking.”

Speaking about need to focus on #SmokeFreeCarDr Satish added, “When someone smokes in the small enclosed space of a car, people are exposed to toxic air that is many times higher than what the EPA (Environment Protection Agency) considers hazardous air quality. Additionally, the gaseous and particulate components of tobacco smoke absorb into the upholstery and other surfaces inside a car, and then off-gas back into the air over the course of many days, exposing passengers to toxins long after anyone actually smoked in the car.”

Most smokers feel healthier after kicking the bud: ICICI Lombard survey

Bangalore, May 31, 2017: Fifty-two per cent of men and women who used to smoke, said that they felt healthier after giving up the habit. Another 53 per cent, backed by a majority of females said, that it was not a difficult task to quit smoking.

 

These were the key findings of a survey conducted on 1,500 former smokers by ICICI Lombard in the week following up to ‘World No Tobacco Day’ on May 31.

 

The nationwide survey, a part of ICICI Lombard’s brand campaign and wellness programme — #DoTheDifficult — revealed many interesting facts. While a mere 19 per cent of the respondents gave up smoking because of the rising cost in cigarettes, 43 per cent said they kicked the habit due to family pressure.

 

Among other findings, 32 per cent of the respondents managed to stay off tobacco by keeping themselves busy, including taking up new hobbies; 22 per cent avoided trigger areas that tempted them to smoke; 20 per cent started out with a ‘Quit smoking plan’, and 10 per cent used nicotine patches to give up the habit.

 

Most of the respondents, who began smoking 10-12 years ago, blamed hectic work schedules for smoking and consumed as many as 10-12 cigarettes a day.

 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) observes May 31 as ‘World No Tobacco Day’. This year, the theme is ‘Tobacco – a threat to development’ which will demonstrate the serious threat the tobacco industry poses to the sustainable development of nations and the health and economic wellbeing of their citizens.

 

Through its wellness campaign, ICICI Lombard will spread greater awareness about the hazards of smoking, and honor those who managed to #DoTheDiffcult by giving up smoking.

 

Sanjay Datta, Chief – Underwriting, Claims & Reinsurance, ICICI Lombard, said, “Smoking as a habit is not only harmful for the smoker but also for the passive smoker. Our survey highlights the serious health risks of using tobacco and urges smokers to give up the habit and lead a healthier lifestyle. We are pleased to see that more than 50 per cent of those who kicked the bud are feeling healthier than before.”

 

Mr. Datta further cited an interesting trend of 42 percent of respondents who had a health insurance policy had opted a critical illness cover to secure them from risks associated with this habit.

 

 

About ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company Ltd

 

ICICI Lombard GIC Ltd. is a joint venture between ICICI Bank Limited and Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited; a Canada-based diversified financial services company engaged in general insurance, reinsurance, insurance claims management and investment management. ICICI Lombard GIC Ltd. is one of the leading private sector general insurance companies in India with a Gross Written Premium (GWP) of Rs 83.07 billion for the year ended March 31, 2016. The company issued over 15.80 million policies and settled over 1.62 million claims as on March 31, 2016.

 

ICICI Lombard has been recently accredited with the latest ISO 9001:2015 certification for Quality Management in Policy issuance, banking, commission payout, agent licensing, logistics management, record management, claims processing, branch operations, customer support, and training & development. The Company has been declared the ‘Most Innovative Health Insurance Company of the Year’ at ‘The 2016 Frost & Sullivan India Best Practices Awards’.  It has also been conferred with the Association for Talent Development (ATD) Best Award 2016 for the fourth time. ICICI Lombard has won the ‘Claim Service Leader’ (General Insurance – Large category) and ‘Technology Innovation’ Awards at the Indian Insurance Awards, 2016. The company received the ‘Claim Service Leader’ award for its excellent track record in claim settlement across product segments. It was given the ‘Technology Innovation’ recognition for its technology driven initiatives especially the ‘RiskInspect’ App, a mobile application developed to capture risk information of low sum insured property risk. ICICI Lombard General Insurance has been adjudged the ‘Non-life Insurer of the Year’ at the coveted Outlook Money Awards, 2015. Non-life Insurance as a category has been included for the first time at the Outlook Money awards, which were introduced more than a decade ago. It is a matter of pride that ICICI Lombard has been chosen as the Winner in the introductory year of the award category. ICICI Lombard General Insurance has been conferred the coveted ‘Golden Peacock Corporate Social Responsibility Award 2015’. The award recognizes the company for it continuous contribution to CSR and especially for its ‘Caring Hands’ initiative, an employee volunteering CSR program. ICICI Lombard was adjudged the award ‘Golden Peacock Innovation Management Award, 2015’ for demonstrating innovation across multiple functions of its business operations and promoting the ‘culture of innovation’.

 

28% GST detrimental to the existence of amusement park industry

Industry being categorized alongside casinos, betting and race course

 

Bangalore, May 31, 2017: The recently announced Goods and Services (GST) tax by the Government of India, has put the very existence of India’s amusement – theme park industry at peril with the imposition of a mammoth tax rate of 28%. This new taxation regime puts this industry catering to outdoor entertainment for children, youth and families at par with the casinos, betting and race courses. It also overlooks the essential role played by the industry in creating social infrastructure and attracting tourism.

 

One year back, in many states, where the tax rate was 0%, then service tax added to 15% and now with GST it is 28% which is a huge burden on the industry.

 

The amusement park industry, which is still in its budding phase in the country, is a highly capital-intensive industry and requires significant investment both Capex on land and rides to the tune of Rs. 700 crores for mega parks and Rs. 100 crores for mid-sized parks and also the Operational Expenditure (Opex). Furthermore, although being a highly seasonal business, all the parks have to operate on a full capacity even during off seasons.

 

In spite of operating on such thin margins with cumulative revenue of INR 1,700 crore approximately, the amusement park industry has contributed significantly towards social infrastructure creation and currently employs around 1.25 lakhs across India. Realizing the essentiality, it plays in establishing tourist hubs, more and more states are now keen to host theme parks to attract increasing number of tourists.

 

Mr. Shirish Deshpande, President, Indian Association of Amusement Parks and Industries (IAAPI) & CEO, Pan India Paryatan Pvt. Ltd., (PIPPL) said, “This is a huge setback for our industry which in essence puts our very survival at risk. Such high taxation is out rightly unsustainable for our industry which as it is operates on a paper-thin margin. Amusement park is not and was never a luxury. It is a social infrastructure giving outdoor entertainment to children and youth of tomorrow’s India, who are otherwise glued to gadgets and digital world. Amusement Parks helps foster bonding with family and friends, relieves stress and provides rush of adrenaline and more. It has a direct correlation with the development of tourism in any state and plays a major role in creating employment both directly and through ancillary and other related industries. In view of this, as a representative of the industry, we would like to urge the government to consider our standpoint and treat the industry in line with hospitality and restaurants which fall in the GST slab of 12%-18%, on top of it this industry does not consume major raw materials and input credit is not more than 2-3% therefore it makes amusement industry unviable to sustain such high GST rate.”

 

Globally, in markets where ever GST has been introduced, tourism rate has been kept half of the GST rate and in most cases, it is under 10%.  The GST rate in Australia is 10%, Singapore is 7%, Japan 5% , Malaysia 6%. This on one hand stimulates tourism demand and on the other creates an economic multiplier effect on GDP thereby creating business opportunities across multiple sectors such as hospitality, food & beverage, transport among others. 

 

Mr. Rajeev Jalnapurkar, CEO, Ramoji Filmcity said, “Imposing such high rates of taxation is detrimental to the prospects of our business making it unviable besides putting thousands of jobs at stake. The amusement park industry is still at its nascent stage and requires significant support from the government’s end to make the industry flourish in its full dynamism. We strongly advocate the government to rethink on its decision and support our industry by bringing it under the aegis of the tourism industry.”

 

Such a high tax rate will not only hamper the current Amusement Park industry but will be deterrent to new entrants in this industry.