Taking notice of the prevalence of tobacco addiction amongst youth, the state government has vowed to make all educational institutes tobacco-free by January 25, 2012.
“We want to make sure that students in school and college do not consume these products anymore. We have planned a massive drive and will launch it on children’s day, November 14, to mark a new beginning,” said Food and Development Authority Minister Satej Patil.
Patil said that the shocking results Global Adult Tobacco Survey had prompted this drive. The 2009 survey showed that in the age group of 13 to 15 years, 19% boys and 8.3% girls are affected by smoking, while 36.6% students are affected by passive smoking.
The 2010 survey showed that the 20-34 age group is the most affected.
Elaborating the campaign, Patil said that they would follow a mutli-pronged approach, which will not just include banning tobacco from schools and colleges but also awareness and vigilance. As part of the awareness creation aspect, students will be required to take a pledge on Children’s day, which will be followed by awareness programmes conducted by NGO Salaam Bombay and Tata Memorial hospitals.
Paan shop and corner shop owners will be given stickers which will say that they will not sell their products within 100 m of educational premises.
The drive will also give school and college principals the authority to fine those selling or advertising tobacco and related products, within 100 m of the institute, under the Cigarettes and other tobacco products Act, 2003 (COPTA).