The Punjab government has taken stringent measures to check use of tobacco and nicotine in any form for the past few years due to which the state was able to check this menace to some extent. Stating this here today, Health Minister Mr. Surjeet Kumar Jyani said that a Special Seven days "World No Tobacco Day" awareness and enforcement drive was conducted in all districts from 25th May 2016 to 31st May 2016. During this drive, more than 3300 Challans were issued to violators under Section 4 & Section 6 of Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products Act 2003. He said that Punjab Government will enforce latest pictorial health warnings on all tobacco products strictly by conducting such awareness cum enforcement drives. He further said that Education, Police, Local Govt, Excise and Taxation, Transport and Legal Metrology departments are major stakeholders in Tobacco Control and they played an important role during "World No Tobacco Day” Campaign.
Vini Mahajan, Principal Secretary, Health told that in order to sensitize the tobacco users about its ill health effects, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare government of India issued a notification dated 15th October 2014 regarding display of specified health warnings on 85% of Principal Display Area on all tobacco products. She said that this notification of larger pictorial health warnings carries tremendous importance. It will have positive behavioral change in current tobacco users. A larger pictorial warning on tobacco products are the most cost effective strategy to prevent youngsters from initiating the use and provoke current users to quit the habit & to create awareness among Tobacco Users especially Illiterate. It has been already authenticated by PGI study in Punjab that more that 90% of the current tobacco users noticed pictorial health warnings on packs. Out of these more that 60% thought of quitting smoking after seeing the health warning.She further disclosed that as per compliance studies conducted by School of Public Health PGI Chandigarh, Distts Ropar, Patiala, Sangrur, Jalandhar and Gurdaspur are the first five districts of India declared as total COTPA compliant ie the compliance of all sections of anti-tobacco law has been found to be good as per norms.
Hussan Lal, Commissioner, Food & Drug Administration disclosed that Smokeless Tobacco seizures were done during this special World No Tobacco Day campaign. E-cigarettes were seized in Mansa. All the Food Safety Officers & Drug Inspectors have been directed to ensure that there is no sale of flavoured/scented chewable tobacco & E-Cigarettes. He said that All Food safety Officers have also been instructed to take 5 samples of chewable tobacco under FSSAI every month. More than 20 samples of scented/flavoured tobacco were seized during World No Tobacco Day campign.Recently WHO organised meeting on "Regulatory consultation on policy options for Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) in Panama. Dr Rakesh Gupta, SPO; National Tobacco Control Programme was nominated by Punjab Government to attend it. About 20 Public Health Specialists and researchers from other countries attended the meeting to share country experiences and concerns regarding increasing use of ENDS/E-Cigarettes especially by youth.
Punjab's Health Department was applauded by participants for acting decisively to curtail the menace of E Cigarettes and ensuring conviction in court of law.Dr Rakesh Gupta said that Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India MoHFW, GoI), in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and with support of HRIDAY organised a workshop to celebrate World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) in New Delhi on 30-05-16. He said that during this workshop Shri JP Nadda Hon’ble Health Minister, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare launched Toll Free National Tobacco Cessation Quitline 1800112356 & awareness material such as Rahul Dravid TV Spots, Youth Fact Sheet & Tobacco Control Posters. In this workshop he shared his experience in implementation of tobacco control laws in Punjab. Good practices of Punjab Govt. in Tobacco/Nicotine control were highly appreciated and are now being followed in some other states too.Dr. H S Bali, Director Health & Family Welfare, Punjab said that in recognition of the contributions to tobacco control in Punjab, State Tobacco Control Cell, Government of Punjab has been appreciated Nationally & Internationally. We were awarded World Health Organization "World No Tobacco Day 2015" award. In Patiala, No Tobacco Posters were pasted in all PRTC buses. In Sri Muktsar Sahib, motorcycle rally was held.