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Ensure no tobacco sale near schools: Ministry

The health ministry has advised states to ensure that all educational institutions clearly mark a 100-yard zone to prohibit the sale of tobacco and related products outside their compounds.

india Updated: Jul 18, 2019 07:18 IST
Rhythma Kaul
Rhythma Kaul
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Last month, the ministry had written to the states and circulated the revised guidelines, titled “Tobacco Free Educational Institution” (ToFEI).
Last month, the ministry had written to the states and circulated the revised guidelines, titled “Tobacco Free Educational Institution” (ToFEI).(Parwaz Khan /HT PHOTO)
         

The health ministry has advised states to ensure that all educational institutions clearly mark a 100-yard zone to prohibit the sale of tobacco and related products outside their compounds.

“The directive is meant to make it convenient for people to know of the line they can’t cross. It’s easier if there is a signage clearly marking the prohibited 100 yards.

“It will not just help tobacco sellers but also the institution staff to identify the prohibited areas,” a senior health ministry official said on the condition of anonymity.

Last month, the ministry had written to the states and circulated the revised guidelines, titled “Tobacco Free Educational Institution” (ToFEI).

“Educational Institution should…with the help of local authorities mark such boundaries /area which clearly define the 100 yards area to ensure that no tobacco products are sold within marked area,” the revised guidelines say.

“An Educational Institution (EI) should display ‘Tobacco Free Educational Institution’ signage within the premises, and a “Tobacco Free Area” signage outside the institution. The signage could be in the form of boards or wall paints…”

The signage is supposed to be displayed at prominent places, such as on the boundary wall, the main entrance, the official notice boards among others, of an educational institution.

According to the norms, the sale of tobacco and related products is prohibited within 100 yards of an educational institution, the violation of which is a punishable offence.

As high as 225 [about 40%] of the 487 points of sale surveyed around 243 schools by Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) and Consumer Voice as part of the study — ‘Tiny Targets’ last year — were found flouting the 100-yard guidelines.

The street vendors were the most common form of sellers at 56.6% of the 225 tobacco points of sale.

Every year, more than 932,600 Indian lives are lost to tobacco-related diseases, which in a week claim 17,887 lives, according to the tobacco atlas prepared by the American Cancer Society (ACS) and US-based Vital Strategies last year.

First Published: Jul 18, 2019 07:17 IST

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