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  Metros   Mumbai  09 Dec 2017  Police failed to implement COTPA: Health minister

Police failed to implement COTPA: Health minister

THE ASIAN AGE. | VRUSHALI PURANDARE
Published : Dec 9, 2017, 2:50 am IST
Updated : Dec 9, 2017, 2:50 am IST

Tobacco use among minors (15-17 years of age) has risen from 2.9 to 5.5 per cent.

Sawant also emphasised on the dangers of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) which are currently the most popular nicotine- or tobacco-related product among the youth.
 Sawant also emphasised on the dangers of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) which are currently the most popular nicotine- or tobacco-related product among the youth.

Mumbai: Despite the ban on sale of gutka (tobacco) and cigarettes to minors, the police has failed to implement the COTPA (Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products) Act, 2003, said health minister Dr Deepak Sawant. Last month, home minister Dr Ranjit Patil, too, had written a letter to the director general of police (DGP) Satish Mathur for the police's failure to implement the ban. Tobacco use among minors (15-17 years of age) has risen from 2.9 to 5.5 per cent with use of smokeless tobacco having gone up from 2.9 to 5.4 per cent.  

Dr Sawant also emphasised on the dangers of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) which are currently the most popular nicotine- or tobacco-related product among the youth. Dr Sawant told The Asian Age, "There is significant delay and slow process in punishing people who are law-breakers who smoke in public and get things such as gutka, khaini and kharra."

"The police department is not that active in the implementation of the COPTA Act, 2003. If there is stringent punishment for sale and consumption, and proper implementation of the Act, no one will dare to break the rules," he said.   

The letter drafted by Dr Patil read, "This enormous burden on our society in both economic terms and human suffering is reversible. Strict enforcement of the COTPA Act is known to reduce tobacco consumption and save lives, and the police should implement COTPA on priority."

DGP Mathur told this newspaper, "We have circulated this to all police stations." Asked why there was no investigation or conviction under the COTPA Act, he said, "Till now, we have not received any complaints from the health department. If we receive, we will certainly act upon them and will take the needful action."

Govt’s initiative

As prevalence of oral cancer is on the rise, the state government has started oral screening in rural parts to detect oral cancer.
Till now, 22 lakh people have been screened for oral cancer while the target is 1 crore people till December 31, said the health minister.
Tobacco is consumed by chewing it and in the form of gutka, beedies and cigarettes.
Oral cancer features among the top three cancers and one out of every 10 Indian adults dies of tobacco-related diseases every year.
The minister said, "The first step is screening, then analysing, then treatment in government-run hospitals.”

Tags: cotpa, deepak sawant