Himachal Pradesh extends anti-Covid lockdown till Jun 30 | After Yogi Adityanath's order, migrant workers from UP can only be hired with permission | Middle seats in special international flights to be left empty after Jun 6: Supreme Court | No worry about Covid as long as infected patients getting cured: Arvind Kejriwal | Covid-19: Nearly 7,000 infections in 1 day, tally jumps past 1.38 lakh |

Forget armed conflict, Tobacco is J&K's new challenge

By Kavita Suri | 17 Jun 2015, 05:28 am
Jammu, June 16 (IBNS): Forget armed conflict, radicalisation of its youth or the routine protests on the streets of Kashmir, the beautiful Vale of Kashmir is now increasing facing another challenge which may affect its future generations very badly.

The picturesque mountainous state of Jammu and Kashmir is fast becoming the “smoking capital” of north India. Alarmed over this fact, the Jammu and Kashmir government is planning to issue orders to make all educational institutions in the state tobacco-free besides strict implementation of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA).

The border state’s police too has stepped up its drive against tobacco and has booked many violators.

According to Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI), a prominent NGO working on the theme in Kashmir valley, J&K is fast emerging as the smoking capital of north India.

Shockingly, the state has 12 per cent cigarette smokers which is almost double the nation-wide prevalence of 5.7 per cent-and 3.8 per cent bidi smokers and eight per cent smokeless tobacco users. Also, the state’s monthly spending on smoking tobacco is more than the national monthly expenditure averages.

“On an average, smokers aged 15 and above spend Rs 399.20 a month on cigarettes and Rs 93.40 on bidis nationwide while those in J&K spend Rs 513.60 and Rs 134.20, respectively, on these tobacco forms. Consequently, health hazards due to passive smoking are also more in Jammu and Kashmir as compared to any other state in north
India,” said Shafat Kira, Media Consultant, VHAI, Kashmir.

Alarmed over the challenges thrown by tobacco in the state, J&K education minister  Naeem Akhtar has said that all educational institutions in the state would be made tabacoo free so that the youth are saved from its ill effects. The Commissioner Secretary, School Education, already instructed all Chief Education Officers (CEOs) in the state to report COTPA violations on monthly basis.

The J&K Police too, besides facing the challenges of armed conflict and increased radicalisation are now trying to tackle this menace. The State Police iss also stepping up its anti tobacco drive and till February 2015 had booked 13,925 people and recovered Rs 16, 55,377 as fine from these COTPA violators during the past 18 months. Those implicated include 648 commuters and drivers who were found violating the anti tobacco act while driving on various state highways.

Worried by the increased use of tobacco the state government has directed the police to incorporate Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, COTPA violations in the monthly crime review for strengthening the public health measure at the district and sub district level. The state police chief has been asked to collate the violations for strengthening institutionalisation of the mechanism and to forward the details on
monthly basis to the Superintendents of Police in the districts.

J&K is the second state after Karnataka, where police department is printing and distributing its own challan books for COTPA enforcement.

As per Section 6 of the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA), there is a ban on sale of tobacco to and by minors. It also prohibits sale of tobacco products in an area within a radius of 100 yards of any educational institution, and mandatory signage in this regard should be displayed prominently near the main gate and on the boundary wall of the school or institution.

The VHAI has also been organising several discussions, workshops, awareness programmes and interactions over the tobacco control laws in the state.

Forget armed conflict, Tobacco is J&K's new challenge

By Kavita Suri
Comments ()

Post your comment:

Web Analytics