‘Tobacco products remain easily available to students’

Tobacco products continue to be easily available outside educational institutions, despite a law prohibiting their sale within 100 yards, said activists on Tuesday.

“The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003 is not being implemented properly at all. For the youth of Tamil Nadu, it very easy to access tobacco products, for instance, when they are buying snacks outside their schools and colleges,” said Nirmala Desikan, chairman and managing trustee, Consumers Association of India, which held a press meet on the issue on Tuesday.

Representatives of Consumer Voice, Delhi, also participated. Young people made for soft targets through surrogate advertising and innovative tobacco products, said activists, who called for better implementation of the law.

Regulatory mechanism

Last year, the Union Health Ministry asked all State governments to develop a mechanism through municipal authorities to provide permission/authorisation to outlets selling tobacco products – such outlets would not be permitted to sell non-tobacco products such as biscuits and toffees, essentially meant for non-users, especially children.

According to data from the National Family Health Survey 2015-16, 31.7% of men and 2.2% of women used tobacco in some form in the State.

Another organisation said last week that tobacco companies were continuing to promote products through advertisements.

The Tamil Nadu People’s Forum for Tobacco Control submitted representations to the State-Level Monitoring Committee for Section 5 Violation of COTPA, seeking action against two tobacco companies, alleging that they came up with advertisements that directly promote tobacco products.

This is in violation of Section 5 of COTPA, a release said. According to the release, ITC and Godfrey Philips India were promoting new products in the form of poster advertisements. The latter also has an audio promotion. Locations of these alleged violations have been mapped.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 10:55:00 AM |

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