Sale of tobacco products rampant, despite govt ban

Sale of tobacco products rampant, despite govt ban

DH file photo for representation.

Despite a ban on the sale of tobacco products within 100 yards from schools and colleges, cigarettes are openly available outside these premises.

Blame it on the apathy of the authorities. Many petty shops selling cigarettes are doing brisk business right in front of educational institutions in the city.

"It is no secret that students sneak out of the campus for a smoke. Since the shops are located close by, they don't waste much time and get back soon. Making the rules stricter will not stop them, but make them go further away and waste more time," said a senior faculty of the Jain University.

Akash, a student of the university, had this to say: "Smoking helps me bond with friends. Even if we don't find shops nearby, we are willing to go the distance to locate one. Law or no law... doesn't make a difference." 

Meenakshi M, administrative member, Mount Carmel College, said they have fined students for smoking outside the premises. "We have displayed notices warning students that such acts are punishable. But, they find ways to break the law."

A member of the Jyoti Nivas College union said: "Both smokers and non-smokers want the ban to be enforced. The students are worried about the ill effects of passive smoking, and are threatened by people loitering around the college premises."

Cause of delay

Having multiple departments to enforce the law could be the reason why the ban has not been effectively implemented, said Dr Vishal Rao, member of the Tobacco Control Committee.

"Educational institutions should take up the responsibility and immediately report violators to the police and ensure effective enforcement. These shops eventually get around to selling drugs, too. So, we must shield youngsters from this menace," Rao said.

What the law says

Under Section 6 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003, the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products are banned within 100 yards of educational institutions.