The Jharkhand government Wednesday banned the sale and consumption of tobacco products in public places, including online sales as people who consume tobacco products have a tendency to spit increasing the chances of COVID-19 infection.
While many states have issued orders levying fine for spitting in public, Jharkhand is the first state to issue an order banning the practice.
The order issued by Principal Health Secretary Nitin Kulkarni stated that anyone found violating the order will be liable to be punished under Disaster Management Act and under Indian Penal Code section 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant).
Nitin Kulkarni’s order stated that there is a tendency among people to spit anywhere who consume tobacco, supari increasing the chance of infecting people with serious diseases like COVID-19, encephalitis, flu among others. The World Health Organisation has declared COVID-19 as pandemic which infects people through due to coughing, sneezing, touching and spitting, the order said.
“Under Disaster Management Act the Union Home Ministry had issued an order on April 15 titled ‘Nation Directives for COVID-19 Management’ which stated that ‘Spitting in Public Spaces shall be punishable with fine’. In this context, until further orders all governmental/non-governmental offices and premises, all medical institutes, all educational institutes, all police stations and in all public places sale—including online sales—and usage shall be prohibited,” Principal Health Secretary ordered.
He said that tobacco product includes any “cigarettes, bidi, Khaini, Gutkha, Pan Masala, Zarda or Suparo as well as Hukka, E-Hukka, E Cigarettes and tobacco products being used by any name—smoking and smokeless”. “People disregarding the order shall be punished under DMA and under IPC section 188,” the order said.
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