Under the leadership of Hon'ble Health Minister Sh. Brahm Mohindra, Punjab Government has initiated a crusade to eradicate tobacco use to save children and youth across the State. In this regard State Tobacco Control cell, Punjab organized a sensitization workshop regarding the Anti Tobacco laws for the Police officials of Punjab at Health Systems Corporation, Mohali under the chairpersonship of Director, Bureau of Investigation, Punjab. Police officials from all the districts of Punjab attended the workshop.Sh. Prabodh Kumar, Director, Bureau of Investigation, Punjab said that Police officials are important stakeholders for the effective implementation of Anti Tobacco Laws. He said that Police department will now work in close collaboration with Health Department to check the sale of illicit cigarettes, Hookah bars and tobacco products which are being sold with impunity along with food products. He further added that the person selling tobacco products to minors will be booked by the Police department under Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.Dr. Meena Hardeep Singh, Director PHSC said that Cigarette & Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA 2003) has been strictly implemented in the state of Punjab. The state of Punjab has become tobacco smoke free, after the compliance assessment studies done by the PGIMER, Chandigarh. She further said that the multiple stakeholder department engagement is a key to implement Anti Tobacco Laws in the state.
Dr. Rakesh Gupta, Chief Chemical Examiner, Punjab made a presentation on Anti Tobacco Laws. He further added that Punjab was the first state to declare Electronic Nicotine Delivery System (ENDS) popularly known as e-cigarettes as an unapproved drug in 2013 because it contains Nicotine & contravenes the provisions of Drugs & Cosmetics Act. Punjab has also banned the sale and distribution of Flavored/scented chewable tobacco in the state.Dr. Areet Kaur, State Nodal Officer, Tobacco Control, Punjab made a presentation on the burden of Tobacco Use in India and Punjab. She said that large number of people die every day because of tobacco consumption and tobacco is responsible for approximately 90% of oral cancers and tobacco is also the most important preventable risk factor for all non-communicable diseases including cancer, hypertension, heart diseases, Lung diseases and stroke etc. She further added that Tobacco Cessation centers have been established in 10 districts of Punjab. Total 626 Villages have been declared as Tobacco free Villages after passing the resolution by Panchayats.A study conducted by Government of Punjab in collaboration with PGIMER, Chandigarh in 2017, in the slums of Mohali was released by Dr. Rita Bhardwaj, Civil Surgeon, Mohali. She said that a special campaign will be launched next month to create awareness regarding the ill effects of tobacco among the slum population as tobacco is a direct cancer causing agent.