Shops In Kohima Openly Sell Tobacco Products To Students - Eastern Mirror - 1 Eastern Mirror The Latest And Breaking News From Nagaland, Northeast India, India And The World. Current Affairs And News Of Politics From Around The World, Latest Updates On Business News, Sports, Arts And Entertainment June 22, 2024 June 2024 4:33 AM June 22nd, 2024 Eastern Mirror Https:// Https:// Shops In Kohima Openly Sell Tobacco Products To Students KOHIMA—  Despite Laws Prohibiting The Sale Of Tobacco Products To Minors (below The Age Of 18), Shopkeepers In Kohima Continue To Sell Such Products To Students Unabated. Https:// Https:// May 31, 2023 May 31, 2023 May 31st, 2023 May 31st, 2023 Editor's Pick Editor's Pick | Nagaland Tobacco Tobacco Tobacco
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Shops in Kohima openly sell tobacco products to students

By Menuse-O Max Khieya Updated: May 31, 2023 1:52 am
Tobacco items bought by minor boys at several locations in Kohima on Tuesday. (EM Images)

KOHIMA—  Despite laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to minors (below the age of 18), shopkeepers in Kohima continue to sell such products to students unabated.

On the eve of World No Tobacco Day, which is observed every year on May 31 to raise awareness on the harmful effects of tobacco use, Eastern Mirror sent three minor boys in their school uniforms to buy tobacco products, including cigarettes from paan shops in and around Kohima to find out if the laws were adhered to.

Surprisingly, the minors could easily buy various tobacco products like cigarette, pan, gutka, khaini and mitha supari from shops located near Oking Hospital and Research Clinic, Old MLA Hostel, Khuociezie local ground and in the premises of DC Office Complex in the state capital.

Not a single shop turned the minor boys away, as this reporter watched them from a distance.

It may be mentioned that the tobacco items bought by the students under the observation of this newspaper were disposed of later.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 prohibits sale of tobacco products to minors aged below 18 years and defaulters are punishable with seven years imprisonment and a fine of INR 1 lakh.

Dr. Arenla Walling, Deputy Director and State Nodal Officer of National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP), department of Health and Family Welfare, expressed dismay over shopkeepers openly defying the law enacted by the government by selling banned substances to students.

She said that only enforcement officials can penalise and book those not complying with the Act that prohibits sale of tobacco products to minors.

‘At least we have to tell the shopkeepers that they can be booked, and warn them that such acts are against the law, till the enforcement team carries out the drive,’ she added.

Effects of tobacco use on health

While reminding that the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003, prohibits smoking in public places, sale of tobacco products to minors and near educational institutions, Dr. Arenla Walling said the government of Nagaland has also declared all public and private healthcare establishments as tobacco-free zone, and all the educational institutions in the state as tobacco- free starting this month, and designating teachers in their respective jurisdictions as enforcement officers.

As per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS-2), the average monthly expenditure on cigarettes in Nagaland is INR 1473.9 and INR 265.5 on bidi, she said, adding that tobacco users in the state spend more than INR 1 crore yearly (as per NTCP pilot study).

She informed that about 8 million people die from tobacco-related ailments every year, citing the World Health Organisation (WHO) report. Tobacco is the leading cause of respiratory disorders like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, tuberculosis, and other lung diseases and a major risk factor for cancer, diabetes and heart diseases, she added.

The doctor went on to highlight that World No Tobacco Day, which was initiated by WHO to draw global attention to tobacco epidemic, and preventable death and disease it causes, is being celebrated on the theme “We need food, not tobacco” this year with an aim to raise awareness on the environmental impact of tobacco, from cultivation, production, and distribution to waste, as well as encouraging healthy living and to protect future generations.

‘Tobacco growing harms our health, the health of farmers and the planet’s health,’ the doctor said, adding that the tobacco industry interferes with attempts to substitute tobacco growing and contributes to the global food crisis, besides violating human rights by keeping farmers impoverished through unfair contractual arrangements and practice of child labour which deprives young minds the right to education.

Benefits of quitting tobacco

Highlighted the benefits of quitting tobacco, Dr. C Tetseo, Additional Director (Dental) of Health and Family Welfare, told this newspaper that active smokers will witness their blood pressure dropping within 24 hours of quitting smoking.

While informing that tobacco (smoked or smokeless) addiction significantly increases the risks of developing various diseases like cardiovascular and oral cancer, he said some instant health benefits after quitting tobacco including improvement in sense of smell and increase in appetite, among others.

He also lamented the shortcomings among the healthcare workers, saying that some of them are active tobacco users when they should be spreading message about the dangers of consuming tobacco to the patients and the common people.

“Tobacco is not good for any disease; so if any patient comes to us, we should be giving advice to them (not to consume tobacco),” he said, adding that they are also trying to create awareness among the doctors.

Where to seek help

Since tobacco contains nicotine, Dr. C Tetseo said, it is not easy to quit even if the users wish to. In such a situation, tobacco users require professional help, he added.

Informing that tobacco cessation centres have been set up in all district hospitals in the state, he advised tobacco addicts and users to walk into such health facilities and get counseling as well as medical attention free of cost.

“Tobacco is so addictive that it needs psychological support too,” said the doctor.

Measures to control tobacco use

Commissioner and Secretary of Health and Family Welfare, Y Kikheto Sema, told this newspaper that several measures have been taken to control tobacco use in the state.

He reminded that all the schools, both government and private have been declared tobacco-free earlier this month, while healthcare centres across the state were declared tobacco-free zone in February this year.

Maintaining that stringent actions are taken against those failing to comply with the rule, he said they would soon declare all the government departments as tobacco-free zones.

A police officer also informed this newspaper that they carry out enforcement drives under District Tobacco Task Force along with the district administration and Health department from time to time.

Also read: Joint enforcement drive by NTCP Nagaland penalises tobacco shops in 11 districts

By Menuse-O Max Khieya Updated: May 31, 2023 1:52:30 am
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