Geneva: World Health Organisation (WHO) has awarded Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan with `WHO Director-General Special Recognition Award` for his accomplishments in the area of tobacco control.

Every year, WHO recognises individuals or organisations in each of the six WHO Regions for their accomplishments in the area of tobacco control. This recognition takes the form of the WHO Director-General Special Recognition Award and World No Tobacco Day Awards.

On the occasion, WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Vardhan`s leadership was instrumental in the 2019 national legislation to ban E-cigarettes and heated tobacco products.”Pleased to award @drharshvardhan, Indian Health Minister, with the special recognition for tobacco control. His leadership was instrumental in the 2019 national legislation to ban E-cigarettes and heated tobacco products. Thank you, Minister,” Tedros tweeted.

Meanwhile, the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare today chaired an event to mark World No Tobacco Day and led the pledge by everyone present to abstain from tobacco.

He expressed his satisfaction that with the persistent efforts of the Centre and State governments, the prevalence of tobacco use has decreased by six percentage points from 34.6 per cent in 2009-10 to 28.6 per cent in 2016-17.

The 2021 theme and campaign of World No Tobacco Day is — “Commit to Quit”.

Moreover, the WHO also honoured Tobacco Control Research Group, the University of Bath from the UK for its efforts in the area of tobacco control.”We are incredibly honoured to receive a special recognition award from the @WHO Director-General for the World No Tobacco Day 2021 awards. A huge thanks to WHO, to @PartnershipFree for nominating us and all who support our work,” the group had said in a tweet last week after the award was announced.