Only eight per cent of schools in the city adhere to the anti-tobacco rules framed by the government, thus increasing the chance of students getting into the habit of consuming tobacco, reveals a survey of 230 government-run schools, conducted by Salaam Bombay Foundation, an NGO.
Sharing the outcome of the survey, a spokesperson of Salaam Bombay Foundation said the results were startling as most schools fell short of putting into effect guidelines recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to ensure tobacco-free schools.
“Only eight per cent (18 schools) strictly follow no-smoking or chewing of tobacco within premises of institution, by teachers or students or any staff members. However, 34 per cent (78 schools) display the sign board, ‘no smoking area, smoking here is an offence’, inside the school premises as mandated by the law,” said the spokesperson, adding that a majority of schools (66 per cent) did not display any such signages.
Only 19 per cent or 44 schools have displayed the signages, “no sale of tobacco within premises of the school or within a radius of 100 yards”, while a majority or 81 per cent have failed to put up such signages, reveals the survey.
The findings, however, show that 92 per cent or 211 schools have a copy of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003, which is available with principal of the school.
Other findings show that 71 per cent or 164 schools have posters depicting harmful effects of tobacco within their premises and only 12 per cent or 27 schools have constituted a “tobacco-control committee” to monitor tobacco control initiatives of the school.
Mahesh Zagade, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Maharashtra, said such surveys are the need of the hour. “There is an urgent need for all the authorities, entrusted with the task of implementing COTPA, to be more vigilant to make schools tobacco-free. The FDA is doing its best to curb the usage of tobacco, gutkha and other tobacco products. It is the responsibility of the civic body and other authorities to hasten its vigilance,” he said.