Principal secretary, health and family welfare, Punjab, Vini Mahajan has asked the vice-chancellors of all government and private universities of the state to take appropriate measures in declaring these institutions tobacco-free.
In a communiqué sent to the vice-chancellors and the principals of affiliated colleges, Mahajan asked them to implement the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003, to make educational institutions, university campuses and affiliated colleges tobacco-free.
She said Punjab was the first state in India to ban the sale of loose cigarettes (as single sticks) to dissuade consumers. A notification has also been issued in this regard and directions given to enforce the ban in all districts of the state under COTPA.
Mahajan has asked university authorities to keep tabs on shops/khokhas near these institutions, besides conducting checks in small markets within the premises to ensure that there was no tobacco sale despite complete prohibition.
She added that as per Section 4 of COTPA, smoking in public places was prohibited, and under Section 6 of the act, tobacco selling was not allowed within 100 yards of any educational institution.
Director general, school education, has also been directed to send similar directions to district education officers to implement COTPA strictly in and around educational institutes.