Odisha has alarming tobacco use and its prevalence among youngsters is higher than national average. Social activists and medical experts expressed their concern over this at a workshop organised for sensitisation regarding Section 4 & 6 of Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) 2003.

It had been organised by the Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI), APARAJITA and Govind Pradhan Smruti Sansad (GPSS) with the support of Ganjam district administration and tobacco control cell of Berhampur.

It may be noted that last year it had been proposed to make public smoking of tobacco to be completely eradicated in Ganjam district by the end of December 2013 through strict implementation of COTPA 2003. A special task force under the chairmanship of the district Collector has been formed for the purpose.

It has been decided to put stress initially on Berhampur city and other urban centres in the district. But till now not much has been done towards it.

This workshop was attended by Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) of Ganjam district, Prasanna Kumar Kar, ADMO public health Lalit Mohan Rath, health officer of Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BMC) Subhakant Dash, expert from VHAI Md. Imran Ali etc.

VHAI expert Imran Ali says several people are getting addicted to tobacco before age of 18 years