Ban on sale of tobacco products near schools goes up in smoke

Ban on sale of tobacco products near schools goes up in smoke

The enforcement of ban on the sale of tobacco products within a radius of 100 yards of educational institutions is abysmally low in Karnataka, according to a survey.

According to the study conducted by John Hopkins University, USA along with the Social and Rural Research Institute, New Delhi and Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, only 33 per cent of the schools under study did not have any shops selling tobacco or tobacco products in the 100-yard zone. It found that none of the educational institutions wwas complying with all the directives on the ban.

The sample size of the survey conducted in 2012 comprised 49 primary, secondary schools and colleges, both government and private. Schools in Ainoli, Bangalore, Davangere, Hullegowdanahalli, and Mysore were selected for the study.

The survey found that only four per cent of the schools complied with signage requirements concerning ban on sale of tobacco and tobacco products.

It has been 10 years since Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) came into being. The Act bans sale of tobacco and tobacco products near schools and other educational institutions. But there are apparently no means to check its repeated violation.

A casual survey around neighbourhoods in the City will reveal a cluster of shops selling gutka in the vicinity of schools and colleges. Officials from the Education department have claimed that nearly 1,000 schools in the State were found to be violating the ban. The Act also prescribes a set of rules to regulate advertisement and promotion of tobacco products.

Out of the 17 neighbourhoods surveyed for the points of sale or shops selling such harmful products in the City, no shop was found to be complying with the signage requirements displaying prohibition on the sale of tobacco products to minors.