THE ACTION Council Against Tobacco (ACT) has urged Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to issue a circular in the interest of public health, directing all health inspectors, directors of panchayat and urban affairs, and secretaries of local bodies, to strictly monitor and ensure that shops selling tobacco products have the mandatory licence. A letter in this regard was sent to the Chief Minister on March 10, where activists had urged him to not succumb to pressures from tobacco lobbyists.
On September 21, 2017, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had suggested measures to protect children from exposure to tobacco products, by introducing an authorisation mechanism. The ministry had asked municipal bodies and local authorities to authorise sale of tobacco at shops on the condition that they would have to be exclusive tobacco shops and cannot sell anything else such as “toffees, candies, chips, biscuits, soft drinks.”
“We have urged Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to ensure that these guidelines are followed and these shops that exclusively sell tobacco products should not sell goods like toffees, candies, cakes and chips,” said Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, head and neck surgeon at Tata Memorial Hospital and secretary of ACT.
“Use of tobacco is a prominent risk factor for 6 to 8 leading causes of death and almost 40 per cent of the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD), including cancer, cardio-vascular diseases and lung disorders. Almost 13 lakh people die every year in India due to tobacco use. It is the duty of the state to protect children and improve public health under Article 39 and 47 of the Constitution of India. Yet, tobacco shops are mushrooming and the harmful product is freely available to our future generations,” Chaturvedi stated in the letter.
“…several outlets in Mumbai and other cities are still trading in tobacco products, in violation of the Cigarettes and other Tobacco products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulations of Trade and Commerce Production, Supply and Distribution) Act 2003 and Rules, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children)Act, 2015 and the Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006 and Regulations, Legal Metrology Act thereby causing danger to our kids,” the letter read.