Delhi Police gears up to save children from tobacco

New Delhi, Steadfast to their commitment, Delhi Police has collaborated with Sambandh Health Foundation and Voice of Tobacco Victims to save the future generations of Delhi. The campaign is supported by Max India Foundation.  Tobacco is taking lives of 10 lac Indians every year. In Delhi alone there are 30 lac tobacco users. 40% of these will die untimely deaths. Nearly 10,000 deaths are due to tobacco consumption in Delhi every year.There are more than 5 million children in India who are addicted to tobacco. This is due to the easy availability of tobacco products and the lack of enforcement of COTPA law in and around schools and in public places. The current campaign seeks to remedy this situation in Delhi, which the police are determined to truly make into a healthier capital.
Police shall be enforcing the tobacco control law COTPA (The Cigarette and Other Tobacco Product Act), 2003 to provide healthier environment to children of Delhi. The law bans consumption of tobacco in public places, advertising & promotion; prohibits the sale of tobacco to minors and by minors and also prohibits the sale of tobacco within 100 yards of educational institutions. This restricts children’s access to tobacco and protects them from falling prey to tobacco products. In Delhi, about 80 children initiate tobacco everyday.

Special Commissioner (Law & Order) Delhi Police, Sh. P Kamaraj while releasing the COTPA guideline booklet expressed his concern on the issue and said that the campaign to protect children from tobacco is a very noble initiative. As citizens, Police see this as a problem – police have so many other problems to tackle. However, noting that police can play a large role in reversing this largest reversible cause of death and disease, Delhi Police will take strict action on COTPA-2003. Police force itself suffers from usage of tobacco. The Police will educate owners of public places such as education institutes, malls, coffee shops, restaurants, bars and other organizations about the various sections of the law. Penalties will be imposed as per the law where there is non-compliance. The Police Department is committed to enforcing COTPA and making the capital a model city.
Dr. Harit Chaturvedi, VoTV patron and Chairman Max Oncology said that tobacco is the single most preventable cause of death. Most of the teenage girls and boys who choose to consume tobacco in any form suffer from tobacco related diseases and are likely to die prematurely. I am seeing younger and younger patients coming to my OPD with tobacco-related cancers. Support from Delhi Police is commendable. Such initiatives are bound to bring the prevalence down.
Mohini Daljeet Singh, Chief Executive Officer Max India Foundation said that a key pollutant in Delhi is tobacco consumption. Craze amongst youth for different forms of tobacco is increasing, thus this campaign is very important. Max India Foundation is glad to be associated with the campaign and will continue to support the preventive initiative to create Healthy Capital of India.
Sanjay Seth, Trustee and Chief of Operations of Sambandh Health Foundation said that modern, progressive states enforce COTPA to provide a healthier environment for their citizens. Police have played admirable role in implementation of COTPA to reduce tobacco consumption.
Welcoming the collaboration, Ashima Sarin, Project Director, Voice of Tobacco Victims (VoTV) said, “Since Police has many things to do, VoTV doctors and patients will sensitize the Police department at various levels providing a rationale why it is important to take action in COTPA.”  The Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) 2003, puts a ban on smoking in public places which include government offices, entertainment centres, libraries, public transport, educational institutions, etc. It also prohibits all forms of advertising and promotion of tobacco products; the sale to or by minors and within 100 yards of educational institutes. COTPA also requires pictorial warnings on every tobacco product and India has recently increased these to 85% of pack area.The India Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) a school-based survey of students in grades 8, 9 and 10 conducted in 2009 highlighted14.6% of students currently use any form of tobacco. One in five students live in homes where others smoke, one-quarter of the students have at least one parent who smokes. Since there is no safe level of tobacco usage, consumer safety from tobacco products is best served by preventing its usage altogether.
As per Global Adult Tobacco Survey (2010), 27.5 crore Indians consume tobacco in one form or another – it is one of the largest consumer markets. Tobacco is the major cause of cancer and cardio vascular diseases and respiratory diseases. A recent WHO study showed that tobacco related healthcare costs exceed rupees 1 lac crore every year and India has 10 lac tobacco related deaths per year
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