Tobacco Control in the News

JK Voluntary Health Association organizes Anti-Tobacco Workshop

The Governor,  N. N. Vohra, called for adopting a missionary approach to generate greater awareness among people against adverse affects of tobacco consumption by involving all the stakeholders and society at large to progressively achieve the desired results.

The Governor was inaugurating a one-day “State Level Advocacy Workshop for Sensitizing Stakeholders on Tobacco Control Laws and Measures”, organized by the J&K Voluntary Health Association, in collaboration with the Divisional Administration, Kashmir, and the Drug and Food Control Organization, at SKICC, here.

The Governor emphasized that along with effective implementation of the anti-tobacco laws, greater focus must be laid on preventive aspects of this menace followed by curative efforts. In this context, the Governor observed that similar workshops and interactions are required to be organized at the district and sub-divisional levels to engender increasing awareness to prevent consumption of tobacco in any form. He added that it would be beneficial to organize lectures by experts and faculty members in schools, colleges and other educational institutions.

Tracing the possible beginning of tobacco use and smoking inIndia, the Governor observed that active or passive smoking and use of tobacco in any form is a serious health hazard, adding that all of us need to become more pro-active for effectively dealing with this problem by organizing a community initiative.

The Governor lauded the J&K Voluntary Health Association, the Kashmir Divisional Administration and all those who collaborated in organizing this Workshop on a highly relevant subject, and sincerely hoped that the deliberations during the technical sessions would go a long way in generating awareness on all related aspects to deal with the harmful affects of tobacco use.

The Governor presented certificates and mementos to various persons for their outstanding work in tobacco control effort. They included Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Dr. A. H. Samoon, Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar,  M. A. Kakroo, Deputy Commissioner, Budgam,  Mohammad Rafi, OSD with Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir,  Aamir Ali, Food Inspector, Drug and Food Control Organisation, Kashmir,  Shabir Ahmed Lone, former SHO, Soura, Inspector Abdul Majid, Chief Education Officer, Srinagar,  G. H. Malik and the Principal, teachers and the students of the Tyndale Biscoe and Mallinson School, Srinagar. He also released a book brought out on the occasion.

The former Director, SKIMS, Srinagar, Prof. Dr. A. H. Zargar, spoke on the theme of the role of a doctor in tobacco control.  Prof. Dr. Savita Malhotra, Head Regional Tobacco Control Cell, PGI, Chandigarh, dwelt on the establishment of Tobacco Cessation Clinics. She made a comprehensive power point presentation on the occasion.

M. Y. Tarigami, MLA spoke about the role which the legislators can play in tobacco control

Dr. Tariq Qureshi, Eye Specialist, stressed that smoking leads to eye ailments also besides, affecting other systems.

Prof. Dr. H. A. Durrani, Gastroenterologist, expressed his views on the topic, “smoking tobacco products leads to Gastroenterological diseases along with causing other ailments”.

Praveen Sinha from the Voluntary Health Association of India,New Delhi, gave an over view of tobacco control measures being taken at the national level.

The Chairman, J&K Voluntary Health Association, Prof. Dr. G. Q. Allaqaband, spoke on the theme of health burden of cigarette smoking and other tobacco products in the State. He expressed his gratitude to the Governor for endorsing their representation to the Government for increasing the tax rate on cigarettes and other tobacco products to discourage their use, and also thanked the Government for accepting this request.

In his welcome address, the Executive Director, J&K Voluntary Health Association,  A. M. Mir, gave details of the activities of the Association and the aims and objects of organizing the Advocacy Workshop.

The Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Dr. A. H. Samoon, presented a Vote of Thanks.

The Additional Director General of Police, Home Guards and Auxiliary Police, Dr. Ram Lubhaya, DIG,  A. G. Mir, Controller, Drug and Food Organization,  Satish Gupta and other senior officers of various Departments were present on the occasion.

A number of functionaries and activists of the Association, senior officers, medicos, social activists, prominent citizens, media persons, representatives of various NGOs, trade and commerce, taxi and houseboat owners and students were present on the occasion.

HC gives BMC six weeks to act against hookah parlours

Hookah parlours in the city now stand to lose their licenses if they don’t abide by the provisions of Cigarettes and Tobacco Products Prohibition Act and Smoking in Public Places rules.

The Bombay High Court (HC) on Thursday directed the civic body to include a condition in licenses issued to eating houses, saying that any eating house not abiding by the provisions of these two acts is likely to face action.

The division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Girish Godbole has directed the BMC to include this condition both for new and existing licenses and gave a deadline of six weeks.

Provisions of these two acts include not serving tobacco in consumable form to minors, having a separate smoking zone in the eating house - walled from all the four sides with separate ventilation among other things.

Observing that awareness about the various provisions of these acts are abysmally low, the court which was hearing a petition filed by an NGO Crusade Against Tobacco, directed the petitioner to conduct a workshop for BMC and police officials for the same.

Civic body gets more powers to crack down on hookah parlours

The petitioner, represented by advocate Anand Grover, had contended that the police were lethargic about taking action against the hookah parlours, where hookah was being served even to minors, in violation of the law.

Moreover, in the event of any complaint, the parlour owners were allegedly informed in advance about a raid planned at their eating houses.

The Commissioner of Police Arup Patnaik, who was summoned by the court on the last hearing, filed an affidavit detailing the list of 16 eateries the police had taken action against in the last four days.

However, advocate Mubin Solkar, who intervened in the case, prayed before the court the police should not take action against the law-abiding eateries.

He was representing Infinity Hotels Pvt Ltd - a group which runs four prestigious hotels in Mumbai and none of them are hookah parlours.

He contended that the police may harass innocent people in the pretext of implementing the law. He claimed support of about 40 elite city restaurants.

The HC has directed the police to take action against only the outlets that are not following the relevant provisions of the acts and submit a report to the court by next date, which is July 7.

As the civic body struggles to keep a check on hookah parlours mushrooming in the city, the Bombay high court on Thursday gave it more powers to fight the battle.

The high court has brought hookah parlours under the purview of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), and directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to ensure that these joints comply with the rules and regulations prescribed under this Act.It has granted the BMC six weeks to comply with its order. The crackdown on hookah parlours has been prompted as they give youngsters, especially minors, easy access to smoking and encourage tobacco addiction.

“There is an urgent need to incorporate the terms and conditions of the Act in the licence agreements of hookah parlours. Any violation of the Act will invite revocation of the licence,” a division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Girish Godbole said.

Bringing hookah parlours under the purview of the COTPA gives the civic body wider powers to act against those that violate rules. If a hookah joint is found serving hookah to a minor, its licence will be suspended, in addition to other action..

Police commissioner Arup Patnaik on Thursday submitted a status report on police action to the court, following a grievance from the petitioner, NGO Crusade Against Tobacco, that the Khar and Bandra police were not taking cognisance of the complaint against hookah parlours.

Sale of tobacco in hookah bars banned
A report on the action taken has to be submitted to the Court by BBMP on April 30.

 

Mahtani Enterprises and 11 others had filed a petition in the High Court challenging the ban on hookah bars imposed by the BBMP. They had demanded that BBMP return the hookahs seized during raids on their premises. The contended that it was not an illegal business and BBMP was harassing them and tarnishing their image.

 

BBMP recently had seized 65 hookahs from hotels across the southern and eastern parts of the City. The department had also issued notices to all the hotels and cafes that were  illegally running the hookah bars.

 

Yediyur corporator N R Ramesh, who had raised the issue, had said that illegal activities were thriving under the garb of hookah bars. He had said that several bars were using narcotic substances that were harmful to the health of people and that they did not possess trade licences.

 

Hookah bars are considered “new trades” which do not  feature in the list of trades specified in the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976.

 

Don’t smoke in my auto

Something just stole the show from the scantily clad Bollywood babes on auto rickshaw panels. It’s a big red sign that screams, ‘No smoking’. And the man at the throttle means it.

The latest to join the anti-smoking campaign are Delhi’s auto rickshaw drivers, who’re now out to ensure that passengers do not light up in their vehicles. “Koicigarette jalana chaahta hai toh hum gaadi side mein rok detein hain, bolte hain utar kar pee aayiye (if someone insists, we pull over and ask them to finish the job outside),” says Hari Prakash, who has a ‘no smoking’ sticker behind his seat. “Log beedi, ganja kuch bhi peete the ... yeh zaroori ho gaya tha (Passengers would smoke beedi and grass, so this was necessary),” says Mohsin, part of the 200-strong gang that is growing by the day.

Rakesh Agarwal of Nyay Bhumi, an NGO which played a key role in the drive, says, “We started the campaign along with the State Tobacco Control Officer, RP Vashisht, who also conducted workshops on the subject. We want it to grow to a larger scale to make it effective.”

While the Indian law does not prohibit smoking in private taxis, the self-imposed rule has been welcomed by youngsters. “It shows the city’s rising conscience,” says Shagun Sen, 19. Nimmi Walia, 25, who was often bothered by beedi-puffing autowallas, says, “If only more of them could feel so responsible!”

Kicking the butt elsewhere

Some autowallas in Mumbai have put up ‘no smoking’ stickers in their vehicles. Smoking in auto rickshaws was banned in the city on Oct 2, 2008, but enforcement is a grey area
* Countries like Greece, Turkey and Japan have banned smoking in taxis.

HC notice to BBMP on hookah bars ban

Bangalore: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday ordered issue of notice to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike on a batch of petitions challenging the recent ban imposed on hookah bars and the raids conducted by health officials.

Justice B.V. Nagarathna's order comes in the wake of petitions filed by Mahtani Enterprises and others. Further hearing has been adjourned to Thursday.

The petitioners have questioned what they called BBMP's unilateral action and contended that the civic authorities cannot act against them without giving any show-cause notices.

The BBMP Council had last month passed a resolution to impose a ban on hookah bars after a member raised the issue saying hookah bars were misleading the youth.

Following this, the BBMP Commissioner issued a direction to health officers to raid hookah bars. The BBMP officials claimed that hookah amounts to smoking, and smoking is banned in public places.

Cancer centres seek ban on smokeless tobacco

The Cancer Institute (Women India Association) Chennai has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ban all tobacco-related products from being manufactured or sold in the country.
E Vidhubala, assistant professor and principal investigator, department of psycho-oncology and Tobacco Cessation Centre, Cancer Institute (WIA), Adyar told City Express that the regional directors of the cancer centres had written letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ban the tobacco products, besides raising serious concern over growing Gutka/Pan Masala menace in India. “In the letter, TG Sagar, director, Cancer Institute (WIA), hoped that the government would ban Gutkha and other tobacco products completely instead of being a silent spectator,” she said.
Interestingly, the country had the highest number of oral cancer cases in the world with 75,000 to 80,000 new cases of oral cancer being reported every year. Chewing tobacco and gutkha contributed to 90 per cent of oral cancer cases in the country, which has the dubious distinction of having the largest number of oral cancer cases in the world sparking off an alarm among the 17 regional cancer centres.
“Easy availability of this mixture of toxic substance, which contains areca nut (supari), slaked lime and certain food additives, in small, affordable pouches in every corner of the country has become a serious health hazard,” said Vidhubala.
According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS 2010) released in October 2010, nearly one-third of Indian population, including children and youth, were addicted to smokeless tobacco. Depending upon the geographical areas, different names with different combinations of smokeless tobacco were marketed, such as Mawa, Khaini, Gudakhu, panni etc.
Vidhubala said there were 3,095 chemical components in tobacco and among them 28 were proven carcinogens. The major and most abundant group of carcinogens was the Tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines (TSNA) and N-nitrosoamino acids. The nitrosamine level was directly related to the risk of cancer.
Scientific evidence had established that tobacco chewing caused cancer of the mouth, oesophagus (food pipe), larynx and pharynx (throat), pancreas, stomach, kidney and lung. It can also caused high BP and other life threatening cardiovascular conditions like myocardial ischemia and stroke. The use of smokeless tobacco during pregnancy could cause still-birth, low birth weight, premature delivery, anaemia (to the mother) and several complications during delivery, says Vidhubala.

Gutka, pan masala to come in paper-based packaging

 

URL of the article: http://www.dnaindia.com/money/report_gutka-pan-masala-to-come-in-paper-based-packaging_1520808-all

Source DNA March 17, 2011

Packaging companies are preparing paper-based packaging for gutka and pan masala following the ban on plastic packaging for tobacco products. From March 1, the new packaging was stipulated to serve as a substitute to plastic for gutka companies.

The ban had forced several gutka manufacturing units to stall production. Uflex, aflexible packaging major that does packaging for various gutka brands, has readied a new packaging that is environment-friendly, a company source said.

“We have innovated a new packaging in the last two months that we will launch in trade now. It is a mixture of paper and aluminium and a couple of other things which is environment-friendly and recyclable, and can be used by gutka manufacturers,” the source said.

In December last calendar year, the Supreme Court ordered a ban on the use of plastic packaging in tobacco products like gutka and pan masala. On February 2, the Supreme Court refused to extend the March 1 deadline on the ban. Following this, a majority of gutka manufacturing units in the country stopped production. The halt in production is estimated to have resulted in a loss of Rs3,000 crore to the industry.

Some major gutka and pan masala brands in the country are Kothari Products’ Pan Parag, DS Group’s Rajnigandha and Manikchand Group’s RMD. Pursuant to the ban, the only recourse gutka companies had to continue with the manufacturing and selling of their products was to look for alternate eco-friendly packaging material.

However, this also means that companies will have to pay more for the new packaging material which will be more expensive than plastic. “The packaging price for gutka manufacturers will be doubled which will result in these products costing more by not less then 50%,” the Uflex source said. For instance, a sachet of gutka costing Re1 earlier will now cost Rs1.50 if companies decide to pass on the increased cost to consumers.

Till recently, when plastic material was being used, the demand for packaging material was 10,000 tonnes a month. Now, as the new packaging will weigh more, the demand is likely to go up to 30,000 tonnes, the source said. Delhi-based Jain Flexipack, that does packaging for food brands like Haldirams and Eicher, is also formulating a similar paper-based packaging for gutka players, Manoj Jain, the director of the company, said.

 

$17.3 million verdict against Lorillard in Jacksonville, FL

March 2nd, 2011

Source  http://www.phaionline.org/2011/03/02/6-million-verdict-against-lorillard-in-jacksonville-with-punitive-damages

A jury awarded the family of a smoker who died of lung cancer in 1994 at the age of 63 a total of $6 million in compensatory damages. The jury assessed Lorillard Tobacco Company 65% responsibility for the death of Jacqueline Miller and 35% to Ms. Miller. This means that the compensatory damages award will be reduced by 35% while the punitive damages award will not.   Therefore, Lorillard is liable for $15.2 million plus interest for the wrongful death.

Starting smoking while in high school in the 1940s, two decades before health warnings appeared on cigarette packages, Jacqueline Miller smoked Lorillard’s brands Old Gold, Kent and Max. The lawsuit was brought by her daughter, Michelle Mrozek.  The case is: Mrozek v. Lorillard.

Representing the family is Attorney Bruce Anderson of the Jacksonville law firm Terrell Hogan.

Edward L. Sweda, Jr., Senior Attorney for the Tobacco Products Liability Project (TPLP), which is based at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, was delighted with today’s verdict. “Once again, a Florida jury has heard all the evidence in a tobacco trial and rendered a significant verdict for the plaintiff on behalf of a woman who was clearly addicted to nicotine, right up until her death from lung cancer. In addition, and not surprisingly, the jury assessed punitive damages as well to punish and deter Lorillard’s reprehensible conduct.”

Of the Engle Progeny trials that have reached a verdict, 25 out of 36 such verdicts have been for the plaintiffs.

 

 

1,200 kg of gutkha, pan masala sachets seized

Mar 3, 2011,

Source Times of India

CHENNAI: In a massive operation across the city on Wednesday, officials of the Chennai Corporation's public health department seized over 1,163 kg of gutkha, tobacco and pan masala products being sold in hazardous plastic sachets. On day one of the drive, which officials said would continue, more than 560 shops were targeted.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests had banned the use of plastic in packaging of tobacco products after the Supreme Court pulled up the centre for not implementing the rules to regulate the use of plastic for packaging tobacco products. The Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011 notified by the ministry on February 4 say: "Sachets using plastic material shall not be used for storing, packing or selling gutkha, tobacco and pan masala."

For the crackdown that began early in the day, the Chennai Corporation set up teams led by assistant health officers. Sanitary inspectors and conservancy staff visited scores of petty shops in Tondiarpet, Washermenpet, Royapuram, Vysarpadi, Perambur, Ayanavaram, Pulianthope, Triplicane, Egmore, Nungambakkam, Adyar, Saidapet, T Nagar, Mandaveli and Velachery. Huge quantities of gutkha and other tobacco products were seized from each of the ten zones.

"A huge quantity of products was seized from the Ice House, Nungambakkam and Kodambakkam zones. Some of the shop-keepers who anticipated trouble did not stock tobacco products for sale. In fact, there had been no supply from the dealers during the last three days," said a sanitary inspector, who accompanied a team in central Chennai.

The seized products, costing a total of Rs 5.19 lakh, were later sent to the dumpyards concerned for scientific disposal. A total fine of Rs 4,000 was imposed on the shops which were found to be selling tobacco products near educational institutions.

 

 

A TRIBUNE SPECIAL
‘Tobacco-free’ pan masalas found high in nicotine

Source 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 21
The next time you see a pan masala major marketing itself as “tobacco-free”, don’t get taken in by the promise. Days after the Supreme Court banned the sale of smokeless tobacco products in plastic packages across the country, a study commissioned by the Ministry of Health has shown that top pan masala brands, claiming to be 100 per cent tobacco-free, are actually high in nicotine. They have been found to contain tobacco despite claims that they have none.

The study was recently ordered by the Ministry of Health to determine the tobacco (nicotine) and pH levels of various gutkha, pan masala, khaini and zarda brands being sold in the Indian markets. The data is being generated to fix maximum regulatory limits for nicotine levels in smokeless tobacco which emerged as a major addiction among the Indian population, as per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey findings released last year.

While gutkha, zarda and khaini are known to contain some tobacco and are sold as such (their manufacturers don’t claim zero-tobacco content), pan masala makers promote and advertise their products as “100 per cent tobacco-less”, subject as they are to review under the 1955 rules of the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act.

Scientific analysis of randomly picked pan masala brand samples by the Central Tobacco Research Institute (CTRI), Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh has revealed that “Rajnigandha,”a popular pan masala, contains 2.26 gm of nicotine per 100 gm of pan masala. This was the highest nicotine content determined in the six samples (of all forms of smokeless tobacco) which the CTRI sampled for analysis. Goa 1000 Gutkha brand was found to have 2.04 gm of nicotine per 100 gm of the product; Manikchand’s Gutkha RMD contained 1.88 gm nicotine; Chaini Khaini contained 0.58 gm of nicotine while Raja Khaini had 1.02 gm of nicotine per 100 gm of the smokeless product. All these products were listed by the Health Ministry for sampling and testing. The listing was done randomly.

In a parallel study on the nicotine contents of smokeless tobacco products by the Food Research and Standardisation Lab, Ghaziabad under the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) also showed Rajnigandha pan masala containing very high nicotine levels at 13.28 gm per 100 gm of the product. Parag Premium pan masala contains 0.16 gm of nicotine in every 100 gm of the product. These brands market themselves as tobacco-free.

In all the tested samples, pH levels were found to be such as are contributing to quick absorption of nicotine in the blood, delivering to the consumer the desired kick. This translates into high-addiction value of the product in question.

The Health Ministry had asked the FSSAI to study nicotine content and parameters like magnesium carbonate and pH in four samples each of pan masalas. The FSSAI refused saying determination of tobacco was not its mandate under the PFA Act. It was then that the ministry commissioned the study to the CTRI.

Ministry sources today told The Tribune, “We were surprised at the FSSAI’s refusal to conduct the study considering pan masalas fall under the purview of the PFA Act’s Rules 1955 whose implementation the FSSAI should ensure. Pan masala makers are marketing their products as tobacco-free. How are they doing so when studies show they actually contain tobacco? Who will regulate them if not the FSSAI?”

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20110222/main7.htm

Oncologists ask PM to ban sale of smokeless tobacco products

Source MSN News

New Delhi, Feb 24 (PTI) Oncologists, cancer victims and directors of 16 regional cancer centres in India today wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking a ban on the sale of smokeless tobacco products, including Gutka and Pan Masala, in the country.

The Directors of the Regional Cancer Centers, most of whom have spent several decades in the field of oncology, have in the letter raised serious concerns over the growing Gutka/Pan Masala menace and urged the Government to take urgent action to stop their sale through stringent measures.

The Director of Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) has also written to the Prime Minister in this regard.

India has the highest prevalence of oral cancer globally, with 75, 000 to 80,000 new cases of oral cancers being detected in a year.

Gutka sold in small pouches across the country has become a very serious health hazard. Easy availability and low prices makes it popular amongst youth and women.

Due to its flavoured taste, easy availability and low price as well as the attractive marketing ploy by the companies, it is becoming increasingly popular among children as well.

In fact, Gutkha use is becoming an alternative choice in India as our culture and traditions do not give children and women the social sanction to smoke cigarettes, the letter said.

A recent report prepared by experts of National Institute of Health and Family Welfare (NIHFW) to study the harmful effects of gutka specifies India alone accounts for 86 per cent of the total oral cancer figure across the world.

Chewing tobacco and gutka contribute to 90 per cent of oral cancer cases in the country. According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS 2010) released last year nearly one third of Indian population use smokeless tobacco.

Chewing tobacco is wrongly considered to be safer than smoking. Smokeless tobacco comes in various forms like gutka, khaini, zarda, mishri, mawa, pan masala and is sold cheaply in small sachets.

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, 34.6 per cent adults (47.9 per cent males and 20.3 per cent females) currently consume some form of tobacco in India.

Around 25.9 per cent adults (32.9 per cent males and 18.4 per cent females) in India use smokeless tobacco, among daily tobacco users, 60.2 per cent consume tobacco within half an hour of waking up.

http://news.in.msn.com/national/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4960405

High Court issues direction to Government on tobacco sale

Source: Hindu

BANGALORE: A Division Bench of the High Court of Karnataka comprising Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice A.S. Bopanna on Tuesday directed the State Government to submit a comprehensive report on the action taken to stop sale of cigarette and tobacco products near educational institutions.

The Bench issued the direction while hearing a public interest litigation petition filed by Cancer Patients' Aid Association complaining that the Government had failed to take action as per the provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act.

The association on Tuesday said that it inspected 34 of these institutions on Monday to verify the action taken. The Bench then adjourned the case

Tobacco ban leaves schools, colleges bemused

Source Times News Network

Feb 15, 2011.

BANGALORE: Forget erecting boards, city schools and colleges are not even aware of the ban on sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products near their institutions.

A day after the Karnataka High Court asked the state government to verify and initiate action against 41 educational institutions for allowing petty shops selling tobacco around their campuses, The Times of India found that heads of the institutions were unaware of any such ban.

"It's rather surprising to know that we are being scrutinised for something we were not aware of. We would have complied if we were asked to, but we were not," said Dr Ambrose Pinto, principal, St Joseph's College.

On Tuesday morning, clearly none of these institutions under the scanner were aware of the HC's directive either.

"It is clear that none of the colleges promote tobacco. In fact, our students are engaged in an anti-tobacco campaign. We are more than happy to put up boards banning tobacco vendors. But the government cannot take action against colleges for something they are not aware of. That is not the way to deal with the problem," said Viju PD, director, student affairs, Christ University.

At a college near Ulsoor police station, mobile tobacco vendors did brisk business outside the premises on Tuesday, as students lined up for tobacco and short-eats. "I do not invite students to come here. Who am I to stop them from smoking?'' asked Manjunath S, a shopkeeper on KH Road.

Residents say that another reason for these shops mushrooming is the number of companies in the vicinity. "These shops cater to employees working in these firms and not just students,'' said a resident.

According to some educationists, instead of taking on schools for not displaying boards, action should be taken against those violating rules by selling tobacco products in the periphery of the institutions. "We tried to get rid of the vendors, who turned hostile. Why did the government give them license to sell tobacco, knowing they are located near schools?" asked K P Gopalkrishna, chairman, National Public Schools.

WHAT DID HC SAY?

Following a writ petition from the Cancer Patients' Aid Association, a high court division bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar had on Monday directed the government to inspect and prosecute educational institutions which do not comply with Section 6 of the Control of Tobacco Products Act, 2004 (COTPA) -- prohibiting the sale of any tobacco products within 100 yards of the institution. The rule also mandates that institutions put up boards outside their college/school premises, stating that the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products is banned in an area of 100 yards.

Mizoram moves towards 'smoke-free state'

 Source http://www.newkerala.com/news/world/fullnews-144569.htm

Aizawl, Feb 10 : Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla said here the state was slowly moving towards becoming a "smoke-free state".

''The state government is giving full support to the anti-tobacco organisations and activists to strictly enforce the Control of Tobacco Products Act in the state,'' Lal Thanhawla said while distributing prizes of song-writing competition against tobacco consumption.

Recollecting how a few activists had started an anti-tobacco campaign in Mizoram around 20 years back, the Chief Minister said, ''During those days, the anti-tobacco activists were a laughing stock and people used to mock at them.'' ''Now, their tireless efforts have begun to see positive results.

Gradually, the people have realised the ill-effects of tobacco. This is because it is a God-sided programme,'' he added.

Interestingly, the one, who spearheaded anti-tobacco campaign in Mizoram for the past 20 years, is none other than the Chief Minister’s wife Lal Riliani. She, along with few others, introduced the 'Indian Society on Tobacco Health' to the people of Mizoram 20 years back.

According to officials, more than 20 per cent Mizo smokers have kicked the habit in the past few years, raising hopes that Mizoram will shake off the dubious distinction of being the topper in tobacco consumption in the country.

A survey conducted by the Mizoram State Tobacco Control Society has revealed that more and more smokers are of late kicking the habit.

Jane Ralte, programme officer of MSTC, said the survey, conducted among 2,500 people above 18 years of age in the eight districts of Mizoram, found that as much as 73.1 per cent of the smokers wanted to quit smoking.

The survey reveals that while 55 per cent were still adhering to their smoking habit, 45 per cent are non-smokers or who had quit the habit.

As many as 50.8 per cent of the smokers said they did not find any enjoyment in smoking, while 37.5 per cent still do.

Around 84.2 per cent admitted that their expenditure on cigarettes was a financial burden. At least 10.6 per cent said no to it and 5.2 per cent could not give an answer.

The survey also revealed that a whopping 89.60 per cent agreed that smoking was harmful to health, but 6.80 per cent did not think so and 3.60 per cent did not offer opinion.

In all 85.3 per cent are also aware that passive smoking is equally harmful while as many as 10.3 per cent of them opposed it.

Centre bans plastic packs for tobacco products

Source Times News Network

Feb 10, 2011

Bhubaneswar: The Union ministry of environment and forests on Monday notified the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2011, which bans the use of plastic materials in sachets for storing, packing or selling gutka, tobacco and pan masala. As a result, attractive plastic sachets of gutka and pan masala will no longer be available.

In a state that has the second highest percentage of tobacco-chewers in the country (after Bihar), the move comes as the one of the biggest public-health initiatives in recent times, say anti-tobacco activists and doctors. "Colourful plastic packages attract teenagers towards taking up gutka and pan masala. If the packaging is not attractive, the number of new tobacco-chewers will significantly drop," said Dr Usha Ranjan Parija, who heads the Research Centre for Tobacco Control at Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre in Cuttack.

The latest Global Adult Tobacco Survey India 2010 says the percentage of smokeless tobacco users in the above-15 age-group in Orissa is above 30 per cent as against the national average of 25.9 per cent.

Itishree Kanungo, project co-ordinator, VHAI-Aparajita, a voluntary organization spearheading the anti-tobacco movement in the state, said plastic sachets are very convenient for the buyers, sellers and makers. If plastic packing is banned, storage and transport will be difficult."

Users will find it difficult to keep gutka in their shirt or trouser pockets unless it is packed in plastic. This will definitely reduce tobacco consumption, said Dr G Biswas, another oncologist in the city.

Tobacco vendors, however, said a change in packaging will not make any difference to the sale. "Users will buy it anyway. These products would not be any less attractive even if they are packed in paper," said a shopkeeper at Kalpana Square in the state capital.

However, gutka users themselves think that unless it is packaged nicely, it will cease to attract consumers. "If Gutka not packed properly, it will lose its flavour. I will quit if plastic sachets are no more available," said Satyabipra Patra, a 28-year-old corporate employee who chews gutka for the last nine years.

Doctors say chewable tobacco products such as gutka have proved to be a bigger curse on health than smoking in the state. "Around 28 per cent of the cancer patients in Orissa get the disease because of their habit of tobacco-chewing," said Dr Sanjoy Panda, an oncologist. Smokeless tobacco users have an increased risk of oral cancer, he added. Dr Panda cited various surveys and said over 57 per cent households in the state have tobacco-chewers. According to the National Family Health Survey III (2005-06), 42 per cent of the people in the state chew tobacco.