Durgaiah, whose throat cancer is in the fourth stage, covered the hole on his throat with left hand and spoke in a feeble voice: “My addiction to tobacco brought me to this condition.”
Mr. Durgaiah was addressing a group of policemen to impress upon them to enforce the laws banning smoking in public places, at a workshop on Thursday.
“I had difficulty in eating and went from hospital to hospital. Doctors did procedures free of cost to enable me to speak, which has given me a new life. My sincere advice to you and others is, avoid tobacco,” he said, as he gasped for breath.
The workshop was aimed at raising awareness among police personnel on effective implementation of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production Supply and Distribution) (COTPA) Act 2003. It was organised jointly by the Karnataka Police and the Institute of Public Health.
“We are here not only to speak about enforcement of the COTPA Act, but also to generate awareness about harmful effect of tobacco consumption,” said U.S. Vishal Rao, a consultant oncologist and a member of the State Anti-Tobacco Cell.
Inspector General of Police (Western Range) Pratap Reddy said the focus was on Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada, Chikmagalur. In the last three months, Mr. Reddy said, 2,303 cases have been booked. ADGP (Crime and Technical Services) Ashit Mohan Prasad, also spoke.