Week-long enforcement drive to conclude on June 4

The public health department in Tiruchi district has intensified its anti-tobacco drive in the run up to World No Tobacco Day.

As part of a special enforcement drive, district health officials have cracked the whip by penalising public smoking, sale of cigarettes near educational institutions, and sale of smokeless tobacco such as pan masala and gutka.

The week-long special enforcement drive that started on May 28 will conclude on June 4. Such drives are being conducted every month, said a health officer.

Persons who violate the ban on public smoking will be penalised with a fine of Rs. 100, said a release issued by K.C. Cheran, deputy director, public health.

If sale of tobacco products within 100 yards of schools or colleges is discovered, products will be seized or a fine of Rs.200 will be imposed; second-time offenders face imprisonment, as specified by COPTA – Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of advertisement and regulation of trade and commerce, production, supply and distribution) Act.

The drive will crack down on manufacture or sale of gutka, pan masala or any other form of chewable tobacco, in the wake of the State imposing a ban on these products earlier this month. Any advertisement of tobacco products in the form of display boards or wall posters would be pulled down.

Fine collected

Block-level tobacco control enforcement committees comprising representatives from various departments, including police, education, revenue and health are involved in the crackdown on tobacco products.

A fine of over Rs. 5,000 has been collected since the drive commenced two days ago, according to health department sources.

Information on quantity of seized products is yet to be provided.