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Petitioning Department of Education - Government of Maharashtra.

Right to tobacco free schools.

For the past 12 years, while working towards creating a tobacco-free environment for a safer and a healthier future for more than ten million children across Maharashtra through our different programs, we have identified that it is the ease of access to tobacco-based products which leads to a child trying a tobacco-based product for the first time every 16 seconds (Patel, 1999; Rudman, 2000) and 5,500 youth under the age of 15 trying tobacco for the first time every day (Patel, 1999; Rudman, 2000) and we are certain that the number has surged further.

Whereas the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 – Government of India (also known as COTPA, 2003) clearly prohibits activities like selling and/or advertising of tobacco-based products within 100 yards of an educational institution.

The children have been striving to accomplish the goal of making their school a tobacco-free environment. And it is these ten million voices who are asking for a better, safer and healthier learning ecosystems and hence their ‘Right to tobacco free schools’.

As Nelson Mandela puts it, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – we firmly believe that is only one right way of using this tool – by keeping educational institutions which shape young minds and our future leaders a tobacco-free environment.

So, this World No Tobacco Day – 31st May, 2014, let us help these children realize their dream of a tobacco free school.

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  • Department of Education - Government of Maharashtra.

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