February 22, 2011 - CHANDIGARH, a union territory of India - that serves as the capital of two states, Punjab and Haryana, city administration is all set to tighten its grip around the tobacco companies as it has decided to notify a draft to tobacco vendors licencing rules soon, despite opposition by the tobacco companies.
“Chandigarh Tobacco Control Cell” met under the chairmanship of the UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas on Monday, February 1st. Niwas said: “Tobacco kills nearly a million people in India every year and no opposition from any lobby would be allowed to interfere in decisions taken in the interest of public especially when it is going to save lives of thousands of people.”
He has also asked the police and the Food and Drug Administration to increase the level of enforcement, especially during the evening and inside the liquor taverns and government offices of Haryana and Punjab operating from the city. The education department is also in the process of preparing a list of vendors selling tobacco products within 100 yards of any educational institutions, in violation of orders.
Home secretary Ram Niwas also discussed rules relating to licensing of trade of tobacco within Chandigarh and members were asked to submit final comments so that these could be notified at the earliest.
Haryana deputy chief minister Chander Mohan presented figures of reported violations for the last 10 months and stressed that the food department will also intensify the drive against violations of Section 4 of COTPA (Public smoking).
According to the report by World Health Organisation and Ministry of Health Survey, the figure of tobacco users in Chandigarh has come down to a low of 14 percent compared to the national average of 35 percent. (India - govt releases results of GAT Survey..) Chandigarh has also emerged as the best city in terms of exposure to Second Hand Smoke (SHS).
According to the figures released in the tobacco survey document; less than 11 percent people have any kind of exposure to second hand smoke anywhere in the city, compared to the national average of 29 percent and the highest Meghalaya, where over 54 percent are exposed to SHS.
Similarly, the figures of number of people consuming tobacco in Chandigarh is 3.3 percent which is less than 4.8 percent of Punjab and way below the national average of 20.6 percent. This is remarkable if it be considered that Punjab has over 56 percent Sikh population compared to just 19 percent here.
Reference: Chandigarh to ensure enforcement of tobacco control laws, DailyPioneer.com, 2/22/2011; Licences for tobacco vendors soon, TNN, Times of India, 2/22/2011.
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