Shops sell tobacco products near Jodhpur schools: Survey
Tobacco products continue to be sold around educational institutions in Jodhpur in violation of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), a survey report revealed.
Section 6(b) of COTPA bans sale of tobacco products within 100 yards of educational institutes; the 2003 Act also mandates display of signage outside schools warning against using tobacco.
The survey, conducted by Gurugram-based NGO Sambandh Health Foundation in September, covered 20 educational institutions, randomly selected from north, south, east and west zones of Jodhpur.
All the schools, the study found, had shops selling tobacco within 100 yards of the premises -- 45% of them within 0-35 yards. None of the schools displayed anti-tobacco signage, as per the law, outside the main gate.
In four schools, pan shops selling tobacco products were located within 20 yards of the buildings, within 21-35 yards in five, and within 36-50 yards in another four.
Indian Asthma Care Society president Dharamveer Katewa said, “In Rajasthan, 250 children initiate into tobacco use every day. Based on the survey findings, the Rajasthan government’s immediate intervention is required to make educational institutions safe for youngsters.”
He said the government has taken proactive measures, including issuing notifications, to curb tobacco use. “But all stakeholders need to join hands and work towards successful implementation (of the Act),” Katewa said.
Dr Amit Goyal, head of ENT department, AIIMS Jodhpur, said tobacco consumption kills more than 10 lakh people every year in the country. Quoting a survey, he said 5.80 lakh die every year due to smoking bidi and cigarette, and 3.5 lakh because of consumption of tobacco in other forms. “Moreover 5500 children initiate into tobacco use daily and become addicts. In Rajasthan, 250 new people take to tobacco use every day.”
According to the 2010 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), 32% (15 million) people in Rajasthan were using tobacco in one form or the other; among them, 72,000 died due to tobacco-related illness every year. In Rajasthan, the average age of tobacco consumption among boys is 17, and among girls it’s 14.
National Tobacco Control Programme state nodal officer Dr SN Dholpuria said, “It is really worrying. If tobacco is being sold within 100 yards of educational institutions, then the chief medical and health officer of Jodhpur should ensure 100% implementation of COTPA, even by taking help from the district administration.”
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