By Avijit Biswas
Bhagalpur: Think twice before smoking in public places while in this district. The misadventure could invite penal action in form of fine. Aimed at discouraging smoking and consumption of other tobacco products, intensive drive has been planned at district level.
As per provisions of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) 2003, strict measures have been decided for the purpose. Decision to start drive from district to panchyat level aimed at discouraging tobacco use and also creating awareness about harmful effects of tobacco was taken at sensitization workshop organized here today at Samiksha Bhawan on prevention of tobacco use.
The sensitization workshop was organized by district health society. In Bihar tobacco control programme is already being run in thirty eight districts including this district. However strict enforcement of rules concerning discouraging tobacco use is still awaited in majority of districts.
However following deliberations in sensitization workshop it was decided necessary steps would be taken for controlling tobacco use in light of provisions of rule book.
District Magistrate (DM) Subrat Kumar Sen, chairman of District Tobacco Control Coordination Committee, present at sensitization workshop directed concerned officials for constituting team for imposing fine on people found smoking at public places.
He further directed for removal of shops selling tobacco products in hundred yard radius of all educational institutions. He instructed officials present in meeting to get “tobacco free area” written boards installed at their respective offices. Addressing participants on the occasion DM mentioned about harmful effects of tobacco use. He sought cooperation of all for success of drive planned for curbing tobacco use.
Somil Rastogi, senior programmer of Socio Economic and Educational Development Society (SEEDS) was present on the occasion. The SEEDS is technical partner of state government in tobacco control programme being implemented in different districts.
The programme officer of SEEDS in his address spoke at length on provisions of COTPA-2003. Implementation of tobacco control programme is yielding encouraging results, he said. Dr Pankaj Manaswi, district nodal officer of tobacco control programme was among speakers on the occasion. Earlier the participants in workshop were welcomed by Dr Anjana Kumari, civil surgeon.
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