Chandigarh: To ensure the strict implementation of anti-tobacco laws, 4671 challans have been issued under COTPA 2003 during the past eight months.
This was disclosed by Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Kumar Rahul while presiding over the meeting of
State-level Coordination Committee.
Mr Kumar said that the Punjab government has initiated a drive to eradicate tobacco use to save children and youth across the state under which the sale of e-cigarettes, Gutkha, Pan Masala with tobacco is banned in the state. Hookah bars have also been permanently banned in the state after the amendment of the COTPA 2003 (Punjab Amendment Act, 2018). He said that the multiple stakeholder departments’ engagement is a key to implement Anti-Tobacco Laws and curbing tobacco usage. He directed all the stakeholder departments that no leniency should be shown to the violators and they must be dealt with an iron hand.
State Programme Officer, National Tobacco Control Programme Dr Sandeep Singh Gill, said that Health Department, Punjab has been passionately pursuing the agenda to bring down tobacco consumption in Punjab and to achieve this aim, “Tobacco Cessation Centers” have been established in all the districts. Free Tobacco cessation counselling and medicines like Bupropion, Nicotine gums and patches are being provided in these centres to the patients who want to quit tobacco use. Total 6145 Tobacco users have availed of services at these centres (April-August 2021).
He said that the state is also working on Tobacco vendor licensing to curb this menace.
The representatives from the Home Department, Finance, Transport, School Education, Local government, Labour, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, Law departments and NGOs attended the meeting.