Under the ongoing drive to implement the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act-2003 (COPTA), the health department has asked heads of all educational institutes in the district to ensure by August 31 that there was zero sale of tobacco products within 100 sq yards of the institutes.
Dr Naresh Chawla, district tuberculosis officer, said, “We have launched a drive against the sale of tobacco and its products near schools and we have written to district education officers (DEOs) to ensure that all schools are made aware of the drive.”
Section 4 of the COPTA prohibits the sale of tobacco in any form near any educational institutes, hospitals, railway stations and other public places.
Dr Chawla said, “We have written letters to all concerned to ensure the implementation of the Act by August 31 after which challans would be issued to defaulters. I am personally going to visit private institutes as to inform them about the drive.”
As per the drive, schools in the district would have to appoint a nodal officer, preferably from the faculty, to ensure that there is no vendor selling tobacco products near the school and even students would be roped in for better implementation of the drive.
“After August 31, the antitobacco task force will visit schools to check the presence of vendors, and in case if anyone is found selling loose cigarettes or tobacco products near the school, the institute would be challaned,” he said.