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Government takes fresh steps to curb tobacco use in state

May 8, 2018

Sans titrePATNA: The state tobacco control coordination committee (STCCC) on Monday decided to recruit state and district level officers in tobacco control cells under the National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) of the central government in order to curb the use of tobacco in Bihar.

Chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh may also issue directives to the departmental heads concerned, DMs and SPs to ensure compliance of the fresh guidelines that fall under Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) — Tobacco Industry Interference, an official present at the meeting said.

As per WHO, “The purpose of these guidelines is to ensure that efforts to protect tobacco control from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry are comprehensive and effective. Parties should implement measures in all branches of government that may have an interest in or the capacity to affect public health policies with respect to tobacco control.”

Officials said a monitoring mechanism would also be developed for compliance of various orders and reporting of enforcement data under Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act’s (COTPA) — 2003. Raids would also be conducted at the district level. It was also resolved that accountability in this regard would be fixed and monitored under the district tobacco control coordination committees (DTCCCs)

Earlier, Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC), in an order dated November 2, 2017, had issued directives to curb the free sale of tobacco product in the PMC area. All retailers and traders selling tobacco or tobacco products were required to get a licence from PMC. The members at the Monday meeting observed that this was a necessary step in order to curtail the contempt of COTPA-2003 and see to its effective implementation. A similar measure should be implemented all over the state.

It was also resolved that pilot projects on alternative cropping instead of tobacco cropping would be carried out in districts where tobacco is farmed, such as Samastipur, Vaishali and Muzaffarpur districts. District administrations and municipal bodies will take strict action against those businesses with hoarding or banners advertising tobacco products.

Socio-Economic and Educational Development Society (SEEDS) will also be collaborating in the state government’s effort to control tobacco use. SEEDS’ executive director Deepak Mishra said time-bound implementation of the present decisions was need of the hour to see a marked difference in the already decreased usage of tobacco in the state.

As per Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2 (GATS-2) 2016-17 survey, the prevalence of tobacco use in Bihar has dropped from 53.5% in GATS 1 (2009-10) to 25.9% in 2016-17 in GATS 2 (2016-17).

Source: The times of India city