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Activists welcome empowered panel for tobacco control

December 01, 2017

State govt. to implement WHO’s Framework Convention
Plaudits have come in for the State government’s decision to set up an empowered committee to implement the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and to deal with any kind of interference from the tobacco industry in the implementation of the provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003.

The Tamil Nadu People’s Forum for Tobacco Control (TNPFTC) has welcomed the State health department’s move.
In a press release, the forum said the Health Department had set an example to the rest of the country and appreciated both the State Health Secretary and the Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.

Article 5.3 of the FCTC states that tobacco control policies should be protected from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law, while COTPA, 2003 says tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, government engagements, partnerships and collaborations with any tobacco industry are a violation of the provisions.

As per a government order dated November 10, the Director of Public Health requested the government to constitute the committee. The committee consists of, among others, the State Health, Home, Finance, Commercial Tax and Registration and Law Secretaries.

The protocol for the empowered committee to implement Article 5.3 and to stop tobacco industry’s interference includes general guidelines, such as limiting interactions with the tobacco industry or its representatives and meetings to be conducted only if necessary for public interest.

There are also procedures for setting up and conducting meetings, which include an agenda in writing for a meeting to be given by representatives of the industry, for representatives from the Law department to be present at the meeting to advise committee members, for meetings to be brief and have detailed minutes.

Source: The Hindu