High court tells HP to ban smoking

The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Tuesday directed the state government to file a reply on ensuring implementation of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) at public places in the state.

The court asked the state to file the reply within two months.

A division bench of Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice D C Chaudhary took cognisance of a letter written to the chief justice by the president of HP voluntary health association, an NGO working to make the state tobacco-free, alleging violations of provisions under COTPA in the state.

The petitioner sought the court’s directions to the state authorities asking them to take steps to ensure that no tobacco products are sold within 100 yards of educational institutions and no advertisements promoting tobacco products are on display in such areas.

The NGO also requested the court to ban gutkha in the state on the pattern of Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Bihar.

Smoking in public places has already been banned in the state since October 2, 2008.

The government had imposed a ban on the manufacturing, storage and sale of gutkha and its variants on July 13. However, the ban was deferred till October 2 after an appeal was made by retailers to enable them exhaust their existing stocks.

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