The state government Tuesday joined hands with about 40 NGOs to control sale of illegal tobacco in state along with measures to implement Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA).
Since July 2016 until February 2017, the state government has issued 2,195 challans and collected Rs 1.30 lakh fine under Section 4 (smoking in public places) and Section 6 (selling tobacco to minors) of COTPA.
“We will continue to take action against offenders under COTPA. While complete ban cannot help reduce tobacco consumption, awareness and education of its harmful effects can reduce the habit,” said Vijay Satbir Singh, additional secretary of health department.
With May 31 observed as the World No Tobacco Day, NGO Salaam Bombay released a survey of 313 tobacco vendors near stations and schools that found 97.4 per cent vendors sold lose cigarettes in contravention to COTPA. The survey conducted in March this year also found that at least 107 shops sold lose cigarettes near schools leading to higher chances of schoolchildren purchasing it.
India has an estimated 27.5 crore tobacco consumers. “Maharashtra is one of the worst affected states with around 2 crore people addicted to some form of tobacco. This coalition is the first steps towards tobacco control over the next few years,” said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.