Cigarette sellers defy Supreme Court order

Kick the butt

For instance, tobacco products are sold bang opposite the Jyothi Nivas College on Hosur Road, Koramangala. There is even a ‘hookah bar’ located on the college road. Although, the college has installed a board mentioning the prohibitory orders, the college management has not exercised its power to question the sale of tobacco.

“We are aware about the law which bans selling of tobacco around colleges, but how can we question the seller outside the college premises?” asks Dr Malathi, administrative officer of the college.

Studies have shown that high school children, especially boys are most vulnerable to developing smoking as a habit, but most schools have not taken steps to ban the sale of tobacco products within 100 yards of their premises.  “We have installed the board about the ban and have also mentioned about fine of Rs 200, but we have not questioned the sellers yet,” says Ramachandra, headmaster, Gangamma Hombe Gowda Boys High School in Wilson Garden.

Easy accessibility

Easy accessibility and availability of tobacco products in the community and around the educational institutions makes students highly susceptible to develop smoking habits, says Dr Pratima Murthy, professor of Psychiatry and principal investigator of the Tobacco Cessation Centre (TCC) at NIMHANS. 

“The youth are more vulnerable to develop smoking as a habit when the commodity is easily accessible to them.  COTPA clearly states the ban on selling tobacco products especially to minors.  It is the duty and responsibility of not only the education institutions but as a society on the whole to check on such violations,” she added.

No designated officers

State Tobacco Cell officer Dr S Prakash, who is also in charge of three other posts in the health department says the Cell alone cannot look into such violations. The education, health and police department should actively involve in monitoring such violations.

The Cell itself is running in a dismal state due to inadequate funds and manpower.

275 million tobacco users in India

In the year 2010 there were about 275 million tobacco users in India: 48 per cent of men and 20 per cent of women in the age group of 15 years and above used some form of tobacco. Smoking alone was predicted to cause about one million deaths in India in 2010.

Research shows that 5,500 youth in India start using tobacco daily. A survey of tobacco use amo­ng young people, the Global Youth Tobacco Survey-2009, reveals that nearly 15 per cent of youth in India use tobacco.

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