The Punjab government on Sunday directed all municipal corporation commissioners to ensure closure of all tobacco vends/shops in the state running without a licence under the Punjab Tobacco Vends Fees Act.
According to an official spokesman, local government director Priyank Bharti, through a circular, has directed regional deputy directors of municipal committees and all municipal corporation commissioners to check all shops selling tobacco in their areas and order their immediate closure if they were being run without permit.
Vini Mahajan, principal secretary, health, said all kinds of chewable tobacco and sale of loose cigarettes had already been banned in Punjab and licence of a commercial establishment could be cancelled in case of violation of the Tobacco Control Act. She said there are many poisonous chemicals in tobacco due to which about 2,200 people are killed daily in India, so it is important to curb the menace. She appealed to the people to help the government in this endeavour.
Appreciating the effort of the state government to curb tobacco menace in an organised way, Mira Aghi, a behavioural scientist, said, “In my view, this is the most effective step that the Punjab government has taken. By this, it has demonstrated its firm resolve to control the use of tobacco. It proves that the Punjab government is people-oriented and their welfare takes priority over collecting revenue. All other states in the country will benefit following in the footsteps of Punjab.”