The figures of Union health and family welfare department present the dark side of smoking in Patiala district where 86,000 men, aged 15-69 years, are habitual of smoking.
The figures, released by the department, also state that 43,000 people in the district will be killed by smoking. As many as 70% smokers will die during their productive years (15-69) and 30% will die in old age.
During the week preceding the World Tobacco Day on May 31, a joint team of the health and police departments issued 238 challans to the violators of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) and collected an aggregate fine of Rs 29,150 from the offenders.
The district health department had issued 1,895 challans in 2015 and collected around Rs 2.2 lakh as fine. Similarly in 2014, 1,441 challans were issued by the department and Rs 1.49 lakh had been collected as fine from the violators.
According to COTPA, 2003, smoking at all “public places” is prohibited, sale of tobacco products to persons under the age of 18 is prohibited and in order to restrict access of youth to tobacco products, the sale of the tobacco products is prohibited within a radius of 100 yards of any educational institution.
District assistant health officer Dr Malkit Singh said, “Though we are running an anti-smoking campaign in the entire city, educational institutes are on our priority. The areas around Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology University and DAV School have been successfully made smoking-free zones. The government medical college and Punjabi University are next on our agenda.”
Meanwhile, the ban on gutka and other chewing tobacco products has become ineffective due to the administration’s failure to check their sale. The shops around the educational institutes have been providing such products.