Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Efforts by Govt. to Decrease Consumption of Tobacco

The Punjab Government, observing the rise in substance abuse among youths in the state, took an initiative on the eve of World No-Tobacco Day and launched a special drive to prevent the use of tobacco. A team of health officials had been formed, in the city of Bathinda, which raided the public places and fined the violators of the Tobacco Act.
In 2015, 1,081 people were reported to be fined under the COTPA, summing up the amount to be Rs 78,465. 2016 saw a decrease in the statistics, due to the efforts taken by the government. The figures lowered down to 236 violators till date, fines amounting to Rs 10,265. Only 70 violators had been found and fined during the special drive launched by the health department.
The team also held a workshop on 30 May, at the Goodwill Public School, Bathinda, to make the students aware about the harmful and adverse effects of tobacco and their deteriorating impact on the youth's health, mind and body. The team imparted information to the children, related to the diseases caused by tobacco's use and how it can be prevented. The school children along with the team took an oath to say no to tobacco and drugs. Realizing that the smoke emitted from cigarettes is SHS (Second Hand Smoke) and has more than 7000 chemicals including 69 that are cancer causing, the government took steps to make the state tobacco-free.
Punjab has become one of the first few states that have totally banned the sale of tobacco and related products around educational institutions, as minors are vulnerable, innocent and easily accessible for quick money at the cost of their habits and health. Any vendor found selling tobacco products within a radius of 100 yards of an educational institution will suffer a fine of Rs 200 and complete shut-down of business. To protect non-smokers and young people, smoking in public has become strictly prohibited. Any place that the public has access to like hospitals, workplaces, malls, cinemas etc have been declared smoke-free.
The government has also put a ban on the production and sale of smokeless chewing tobacco, nicotine and their use as ingredients in food products.

“It’s a step to keep the non-smokers people away from cigarette smoke in public areas. The World Tobacco Day is observed with the aim of making the public aware of the harmful affects of tobacco use. Today, the youth is inclined towards drugs in Punjab and steps are being taken from time to time to save the youth from drugs. The health authorities had keenly taken interest in the imposition of fine on violators,” said Dr SK Rajkumar, Assistant Civil Surgeon, Bathinda.

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