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Haryana takes challan route to keep children off tobacco

The Haryana government issued 2,302 challans across Gurgaon over the last eight months for violation of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003.

gurgaon Updated: Jan 29, 2017 23:23 IST
Ipsita Pati
Ipsita Pati
Hindustan Times
Gurgaon,Haryana police,tobacco use
Gurgaon police commissioner Sandeep Khirwar and DCP head quarter Samarjeet Singh addressed a press conference about Tobacco-free Haryana on Sunday.(Parveen Kumar/HT Photo)

In a bid to prevent children from smoking or using other tobacco products, the Haryana government issued 2,302 challans across Gurgaon over the last eight months for violation of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003.

The state government took the challan route to make children swear off tobacco at a time as many as 116 of them were picking up the habit every day. The figure was quoted by the ministry of health and family welfare at the time.

The figures released by the ministry also revealed that more than 43 lakh people consume tobacco in some form or the other in Haryana and the state records 14,800 deaths every year due to tobacco-related diseases. The data also mentioned that 23.7% of the state population are into tobacco consumption. Of this, 3.8% takes it in the form of cigarettes, 15.4% smoke bidi and 6.4% take tobacco in smokeless form. The data said 34% of the Indian population take tobacco in some form or the other.

During a recent drive, the Gurgaon police department visited various parts of the city in a bid to enforce COPTA. The city police has launched a joint campaign with Sambandh Health Foundation, an NGO, and Fortis Memorial Research Institute to ban smoking at all public places in Gurgaon.

Police said a total of 2,302 challans were issued under COPTA since June 2016 and the state’s first case under Section 77 of the Juvenile Justice Act was registered on January 4 against a store owner. In the case filed at the Sadar police station, the store owner was charged with allegedly aiding a minor in selling tobacco products and cigarettes roadside, the police said.

“We are taking proactive steps in curbing the use of tobacco by minors. The situation is alarming here as, the initiation age of children for tobacco in Haryana is 10-12 , whereas the national average is 14. We are sensitising our team and spreading awareness about the campaign in the city,” Sandeep Khirwar, police commissioner, Gurgaon, said at a press conference on Sunday.

He said, “We are taking all precautions to reduce the initiation of tobacco by children. Under the JJ Act, anyone who gives tobacco to a minor will have to pay a fine of upto R 1 lakh and serve seven years of imprisonment. Haryana recently became the second state in India to fie a case under JJ Act for tobacco use.”

Speaking to mediapersons, director oncology and VoTV member from Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI), Dr Vedant Kabra said, “Intake of tobacco affects all organs of the human body. Only strong implementation of COTPA can reduce the number of children who takes up smoking.”

Members of the awareness camp also said that they will be visiting 21,000 schools across the state to spread the word on the impact of tobacco on human body.

Facts in figures

Challans issued in public places under COTPA since June 2016

Police station ----------------- Challans issued

Sector 29 ----------------------227

Sushant Lok ----------------140

DLF Phase-I ------------------68

DLF Phase-II ----------------112

Sector-56 ---------------190

Sector 40 -----------------96

Sadar Bazar -------------142

Sector-5 -------------- 69

Palam Vihar --------------110

Rajendra Park ---------------36

Udhyog Vihar --------------94

Sector 17/18 ------------- 128

Sector 10A --------------- 168

City Police Station ----------26

Civil Lines ------------------66

Bilaspur --------------------26

Manesar ------------------75

Badshahpur ---------------50

Bhondsi -----------------15

Sohna --------------------31

Farukhnagar ----------12

Pataudi ---------------22

Kherki Daula -------------69

Metro -------------122

Railway Station ---------208

First Published: Jan 29, 2017 23:23 IST