Chennai, Nov 25 (UNI) The Centre will set up a National Tobacco Control Authority (NTCA) to ensure effective implementation of laws against the use of tobacco products, Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said today.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function here, he said the NTCA would urge both the Centre and the State governments to increase the tax on tobacco products.
The NTCA would be vested with enough powers to sternly deal with those violating the laws against use of tobacco products.
Earlier, speaking at a consultation meet on Tobacco Control in Tamil Nadu, he said the Centre would bring in amendments to the Tobacco Control Act to create a smoke-free working environment in the country.
This was necessary as 40 per cent of health hazards were caused due to smoking and the government was spending about Rs 45 crore to prevent them.
It was regrettable that the government had to spend a huge amount due to smoking by a section of the population.
Citing WHO report, Dr Anbumani said in the next 15 years diseases caused by smoking and drinking would be more than AIDS and TB.
Considering this, the government had allotted Rs 500 crore in the 11th plan for anti-tobacco programmes and would take steps to prevent smoking in public places.
The centre would bring in amendments vesting enough powers with MPs, MLAs, lower lever police officials, school principals, railway guards and NGOs to prevent smoking in public places, he added.