Community leaders urged to enforce Tobacco Control Act
Kohima, March 5
Moving own awareness campaign on the harmful effects of tobacco consumption in any form and also the enforcement of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) 2003, the Kohima district administration and District Tobacco Control Cell (DTCC) today conducted sensitization programme for colony leaders under Kohima Municipal Council (KMC) at LCS Building here today.Dental Specialist Naga Hospital Authority Kohima, Dr. K. Rosy Yhome dwelling on the topic “Burdens of Tobacco” said that Tobacco contains harmful products, including nicotine, which ultimately causes to cancer in the body.
Expressing concern that tobacco is now the world’s leading single agent of death killing 5.4 million people globally every year, she said Nagaland is the second highest consumer of tobacco products in the country as 57% of the population are either into smoking or using smokeless tobacco. The state has about 67.8% male tobacco consumers while 28.1% female consume tobacco.
The state stand second after Mizoram in tobacco consumption, but it is over the national average of 35%, she said.
She said that tobacco consumption not only causes health problems, but it is creates economic burden to the family and causes environmental hazards.
She also informed that the NHAK has the facility of Tobacco Cessation Cell (TCC) for those wanting to quit tobacco. Informing that experts are available for consultation on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10am to 1pm, she requested the colony/ward leaders to send the colony people to avail the facility.
District Nodal Officer National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP), Dr. Arenla Walling making a power point presentation on COTPA 2003 said that no drastic measures have been adopted in the State but enforcement officers and flying squads have been recently appointed under Kohima district to strictly enforce Act.
They would start strict monitoring and checking of the shops and also penalize public place smokers from next week, she informed.
She also said that with a view to seriously curb tobacco consumption, the Central Government has even revised the age limit for selling and buying of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years under Section 6 (a) of COTPA Act.
In this connection, she said that the Act directs that every tobacco shop should display proper sinage declaring that “Sale of tobacco products to a person under the age of 21 years is a punishable offence”, lest they could be fined upto Rs 10,000 if found during surprise checking.
The board should be displayed at a conspicuous place and the warning should be written in an applicable Indian language, she said.
She therefore requested the colony/ward leaders of Kohima town to direct their colony shop-keepers to strictly adhere by the Act and also create awareness amongst the denizens that purchase of tobacco by a person below the age of 21 years is punishable under the law.
Revealing that under the Act, those found smoking in public places would also be penalized upto Rs. 1000 as a offence, she said presently the enforcement officers or flying squads under the district administration and police have been authorized to penalize, but if needed and as suggested by the colony leaders the respective panchayats would also be authorized to do so.
Informing that educational institutions should also put up boards restricting sale of tobacco products within their jurisdiction, she said authorities should also restrict sale of tobacco products within 100 yards of the school vicinity.
Leaders from 19 wards, which comprises of 48 colonies under Kohima Municipal Council attended the sensitization programme while also asserting that if the concerned authority issues proper directives, they should extend full cooperation in enforcement of the Act within the respective colony.