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Dream of admn to get smoke-free district status by R-Day shattered

The dream of the administration to get the district certified as a smoke-free district by January 26 was shattered as the PGI Chandigarh team was yet to compile the report of its findings about the status of smoking at public places in the district.

punjab Updated: Jan 25, 2014 20:16 IST
Jatinder Kohli
Jatinder Kohli
Hindustan Times

Hence, the district would not be able to get certification of a smoke-free district on Sunday along with other four districts which include Ferozepur, Fazilka, Patiala and Faridkot.

The administration had declared on December 6, 2012 that the district would be declared smoke-free by this date, but all efforts seemed to have gone in vain.

Sources in the health department said that a total of 342 spots in the district, including 100 in the city, were surveyed by the PGI team members during their investigation in the district for four days.
They said that the findings of public smoking at 100 spots of the city were unsatisfactory and team members were concerned on this.

They said that team members have found several people smoking at public places and challans were also issued to the violators of rules.

They said that the survey of other 242 spots in rural and semi-urban areas, was satisfactory as no challan was issued at these areas by team members.

Sources further added that after surveying for four days, the team went back to Chandigarh and started analysing the collected data on parameters of National Sample Survey Organization, which is the largest organisation in the country for conducting regular socio-economic surveys.

They also said that, according to the process, the surveying team members send their report to another health service team of the PGI, which again examines the report of the spot team members and then, a final report is sent to the director PGI.

Then, PGI director sends a certificate of to teh director of the state health department.
According to sources, only 747 challans, including 592 by the health department and 155 by the police, were issued from April 2013 till date which was not good performance.

When contacted, Vinay Kumar said that we sent a report to higher authorities two days ago and it is upon them to announce Jalandhar a smoke-free district.

While, Rakesh Kumar Gupta, state programme officer, tobacco control, confirmed that Jalandhar will not be able to get smoke-free certification on Sunday due to delay in the preparation of the report.
He also said that Tarn Taran district would also not get smoke-free status on Sunday.

However, Ferozepur, Fazilka, Patiala and Faridkot districts will get the certification, he added.
According to information, the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution Act (COTPA) prohibits smoking at all public places. At present, a fine of up to `200 is being imposed on those smoking in public.

Section 4 of COTPA and subsequent rules notified (The Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places Rules, 2008) prohibit smoking at public places with the aim of protecting people from passive smoking, which can cause serious health problems including heart diseases, lung cancer, severe asthma attacks, sudden infant death syndrome, and many others among adults and children.

Under the Act, smoking is banned at any place to which the public has access, including hospitals, railway waiting rooms, amusement centres, restaurants, public offices, court buildings, educational institutions, libraries, public conveyances, auditoriums, etc.

First Published: Jan 25, 2014 20:13 IST