No sale of Tobacco outside Educational Institutions.
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BAN ON SALE OF TOBACCO OUTSIDE EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS.
India is the CAPITAL OF ORAL CANCER OF THE WORLD….ever wondered why?? The answer is obvious…yes it is due to the extensive use of smoking and smokeless tobacco used and sold extensively in our country.
India has been amongst the first few countries to ratify the FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON TOBACCO CONTROL laid down by the World Health Organization and has also the declared the CIGARETTE AND OTHER TOBACCO PRODUCTS ACT (COTPA) which clearly states the following:
‘Sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products in an area within a radius of 100 yards from the educational institution is strictly prohibited.’
Where an Educational Institute is defined as:
Places/ centres where educational instructions are imparted according to the specific norms and include schools, colleges and institutions of higher learning established or recognized by an appropriate authority."
It is imperative under law that all schools are obliged to follow this act, where the distance of 100 yards is to be measured radially,starting from the outer limits of the boundary wall, fence or as the case may be, of the educational institution.
The authorities of an educational institution should also make sure that the premises of the institution are absolutely tobacco-free by displaying signboards within the the educational premises whose norms should be as follows:
The minimum size of the board is 60 cm x 30 cm.
It is displayed at a conspicuous place.
The warning is in an applicable Indian language.
When the rules are laid down so clearly ,why is it so difficult to observe them? According to maximum surveys performed in this regard it is concluded that majority of the schools in India do not follow any of these regulations. A blame game is continued where the school officials wait for the civic authorities and vice versa.
The tobacco epidemic needs an integrated approach where each authority needs to play their role simultaneously. Children and teenagers are proved to be the most susceptible group to the tobacco epidemic and providing tobacco products freely and openly outside these institutions are just going to help us being NO.1 for many more years to come.
The following measures could be undertaken for the benefit of our forthcoming generations…
- Issue of a strict letter to all educational institutes in the country to follow the installation of signboards outside and within the premises as per the norms laid by the Act.
- Appointment of Civic Authorities to keep a check that vendors do not sell tobacco products to minors within the given radius.
- Inspections and surprise checks carried out at places where tobacco products are sold would be helpful to see whether tobacco products are being sold to or by minors or not.
- The most important strategy would be to bring about awareness and to educate the teachers and school authorities of these legal provisions and health hazards of tobacco.
- Inclusion of yearly campaigns and awareness programmes organized by the students themselves.
- Inclusion of health hazards of tobacco in the environmental education textbooks of school children.
- Students should also be sensitized to report violations.
It is believed that PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE. I would request our esteemed authorities to give in their valuable time to this cause so that we have healthy and mindful future generations.With World No Tobacco Day on 31st May 2017..lets take the first step as soon as possible!
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