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Tobacco act goes up in smoke
- Blame on lack of initiative

A meeting of the State Tobacco Control Co-ordination Committee was on Wednesday after 14 months questioned the seriousness of the state government in implementing Control of Tobacco Products Act (Cotpa), 2003.

To add to this, most of the decisions that were taken in the last meeting of the State Tobacco Control Co-ordination Committee have not been implemented yet.

Experts threw light on these issues during the meeting of the 4th State Tobacco Control Co-ordination Committee on Wednesday, which was presided over by Deepak Kumar, the principal secretary, health. Officials from not only the health department but also from other departments and members of SEEDS, an NGO which looks after the implementation of Cotpa in a few districts, attended the meet.

Deepak Mishra, the executive director of SEEDS, raised the point in the meeting as to why the 4th meeting of the State Tobacco Control Co-ordination Committee was held after 14 months.

“There should be continuity in the meetings. It was decided that the state-level committees’ meeting would be held regularly but the decision was not implemented,” he said.

T.P. Sinha, the president of Cancer Awareness Society, said despite clear instructions, police were not registering cases against the violation of Cotpa.

“In most of the police stations we have found only one or two cases under Cotpa. It clearly shows that the police are not sensible enough to work for the same. There should be proper monitoring by the administration on whether the police stations are filing cases under Cotpa regularly or not,” said Sinha.

He said in Kerala, the police reporting cases related to Cotpa rose by 90 per cent. Sinha said the decision of putting signages related to the ill effects of using tobacco products, which was taken in the last meeting had also not been implemented.

“The signages have been put up only in 50 per cent of the schools. Why the decisions taken in the state-level tobacco control co-ordination committee are not being implemented?” he asked.

The principal secretary said: “The ill-effects of tobacco should be included in the school curriculum.”


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