Ban on e-cigarettes & Hookah bars to be strictly implemented by Police department in Punjab
Chandigarh, February 7: Acting on the directions of Health & Welfare Minister, Punjab Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu, ‘State Tobacco Control Cell’ in collaboration with the Punjab Police has initiated a state level drive to curb tobacco use to save children and youth across the State. State Tobacco Control cell organized a capacity building workshop for police officials under National Tobacco Control Programme at Director Health Services Office, Chandigarh. 50 Police officials of the rank of Inspectors/Sub Inspectors across the State today attended this workshop.
Mr. Prabodh Kumar, Director, Bureau of Investigation, Punjab said that Police officials are important stakeholders for the effective implementation of Anti Tobacco Laws. He assured that Police department will now work in close collaboration with Health Department to strictly implement the e-Cigarettes prohibition Act 2019 and other Anti Tobacco laws in the state.
Dr. Avneet Kaur, Director Health Services, Punjab said that a total of 16,016 Challans have been issued from April–Dec 2019 & 23,886 Challans have been issued in 2018-19 against the violators in the State under Cigarette and other Tobacco products Act, (COTPA) 2003. Hookah Bars have been permanently banned in the state after passing the Punjab COPTA amendment act 2018. She further said that under this act, the violators will be penalized up to 3 yrs imprisonment and Rs 50,000 fine.
Dr. Rakesh Gupta, Director Health Services (SI), Punjab made a presentation about the e- cigarettes. He said that Punjab was the first state where e-cigarettes have been declared as “unapproved drug” since 2013. He further added that Govt. of India has now banned the sale of e cigarettes in the entire country. Under this E Cigarettes Prohibition Act 2019, only Police officials at the rank of Sub Inspectors or above are authorized to take the action.
Dr. Rana J Singh, Deputy Regional Director, The Union, South East Asia made a presentation on Tobacco burden. He further added that Punjab still has 27, 00,000 people using Tobacco as these products are freely available all over the state. He said that tobacco is also the most important preventable risk factor for all non-communicable diseases including cancer, hypertension, heart diseases, Lung diseases and stroke etc.
Dr. Nirlep Kaur, State Nodal Officer, Tobacco Control, Punjab said that Tobacco Cessation centers have been established in all the districts of the state. she said that about 8,000 persons have been treated in tobacco cessation centers in Punjab from March 19 to December 19, 2019.