MHA wants strict ban on Tobacco products in public places

Nagender Jamwal

Taking strong notice of various governments to reduce tobacco use and check COTPA violations in their respective jurisdictions including the Jammu and Kashmir which is one of the top among use of tobacco products, Union Home Secretary has issued another direction to all DGPs to ensure the same.

According to reports, though J&K Police has already been asked to incorporate Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Prohibition of Advertisements and Regulation of Trade and Commerce Production, Supply and Distribution) Act (COTPA) violations in the monthly crime review to minimize the cancer and other health hazards yet its failure along with other States/UTs have forced Union Home Secretary to issue another direction to all DGPs.

Pertinently to mention here that the issue was discussed threadbare in the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly after being highlighted by the Members of the Legislative Assembly this session through private member bills, starred and un-starred questions following which a consensus was made and directions were issued to the concerned quarters to ensure the precautionary and preventive measures to put a curb on the ?tobacco menace?.

Though some attempts were made by the concerned but till date, a deterrent is awaited to avoid sale of these products in public places due to inertia of all the concerned as well as state government in Jammu and Kashmir. In a latest development the Union Home Secretary has issued directions to all DGPs to ensure same at earliest and through official communiqu? issued to DGPs at State/District level, stated that review reports should be generated and should be sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs and to Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in the prescribed formats thrice a year circulated earlier by Minister of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) for monitoring at the national level.

For inept, COTPA, enacted in 2003 and applicable to the entire country, was mainly to discourage the consumption of cigarettes and other tobacco products by imposing progressive restrictions and to protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke. ?The implementation of COTPA is best done when the system/mechanism is institutionalized reports said and added, ?Police Department in state of J&K too are putting the violations of COTPA as one of the agenda points in the monthly crime review of the Station House Officers at the district level by the Superintendent of Police.?

Reports also suggested that only a few states like Assam, Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Karnataka and Rajasthan have been able to do so by putting violations of COTPA as one of the agenda points in the monthly crime review of the Station House Officers at the district level by the Superintendent of Police. ?As per the section 12 of COTPA, any police officer, not below the rank of the Sub Inspector, can take action against these violations, reports added.

 

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