The Health and Family Welfare Minister Mr. Brahm Mohindra today issued instructions to the nominated Nodal Officers (DSPs/SSPs) of Police Department to take stern action against the offenders under anti- tobacco laws. These instructions were issued in the meeting of State Tobacco Control Cell, Punjab with Police Department, held to review the implementation of Anti Tobacco laws and to discuss road- map and set target.Disclosing this in a press communiqué Mr. Brahm Mohindra said that Police officials are important stakeholders for the effective implementation of Anti Tobacco Laws across the State. He said that Health Department will now work in close collaboration with Police department to curb the sale of Tobacco products to the minors. He said that it is shocking that in Punjab, around 80 people die every day because of tobacco consumption.“To permanently ban Hookah/Hookah bars in the state, a bill introduced and bill has been passed by the Legislative assembly in March 2018” he added.In the meeting Prabodh Kumar, Director, Bureau of Investigation, Punjab said that Police Department is now going to include action taken report about compliance of Anti Tobacco Laws in to the Monthly Crime Report that is submitted to the Police Head Quarter.
He said that in order to achieve set target recommended by Health Department, a special training was imparted to the nodal officers to book repeat offenders and shop keepers who sell tobacco and other banned products to the minors under Juvenile Justice Act 2015 and Cigarette & Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA 2003).He also assured the Health Minister that no laxity will be tolerated in this regard and strict action would be taken against Hookah bars and restaurants where tobacco products are being served along with food items. He said that the multiple stakeholder department engagement is a key factor to implement Anti Tobacco Laws in the state.Dr. Rana J Singh, Deputy Regional Director, The Union, South East Asia made a presentation on Anti Tobacco Laws. He apprised that Punjab still has 28 lakh people who were using Tobacco.Dr. Areet Kaur, State Nodal Officer, Tobacco Control, Punjab said 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.