The test of Ludhiana to get status of 'smoke-free district' will start from Monday with the visit of a three-member committee from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh.
Ludhiana has been waiting to get the smoke-free district status from August last year. But because of the large area and less number of officials in the health department, it was facing difficulty in getting all rules and regulations of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) implemented, and to call the team to conduct compliance survey.
District health officer (DHO) Dr Abnash Kumar said, “We had made all preparations. The challan were issued to those who were found violating COTPA norms and also ensured that hotels, restaurants and other places also comply with the rules. Thus, now we had asked the department to send the study team, so that we could also fall in line with smoke/tobacco-free district status in Punjab.”
“A team will visit the city on March 2 as per our information,” he said.
Till now, nearly 17 districts in Punjab had attained this status. According to the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) 2003, it is mandatory that there should be no smoking or use of tobacco products at public places like railway station, bus stand, near educational institutions and religious places. Besides the restaurants, hotels and alike institutions should have separate smoking zones. There should not be advertisement of the tobacco and its products, and the district health department should display boards regarding awareness on the side-effects of use of tobacco and its products.
If the team ensures that the city has implied the COTPA rules to 80%, status of smoke/tobacco free district will be given to Ludhiana.
Sources said the report of visiting committee will come after two weeks of their visit.