Centre to tighten anti-tobacco law: Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

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'Centre to tighten anti-tobacco law'
Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 19: The Centre is mulling to tighten laws to check consumption of tobacco products as part of the fight against incidence of cancer, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said today.

A task force set up by the Centre after the NDA came to power had already submitted its report on extra measures required to strengthen the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (COTP) Act and it would soon be considered by the cabinet, Vardhan told reporters here.

Vardhan, who declared the Regional Cancer Centre here as upgraded into the State Cancer Institute, said it was time that a war against cancer was launched in the country by making laws stringent against consumption of products such as tobacco that caused cancer.

"Fight against tobacco and liquor is fight against death. I strongly advocate for stringent anti-tobacco laws," the minister said. A major programme for early detection and prevention of various diseases including cancer is also on the anvil. To a question on alleged lapses in conduct of drug trials in the country, Vardhan said the government would ensure that any aberration in the system would be rectified.

He, however, added "I do not see any major problem in the system and that only that there is further scope for doing better."

On the possibility of making seat belt compulsory for all passengers in cars, the Minister said Health Ministry had submitted various recommendations to the Surface Transport Ministry including making seatbelt and helmet compulsory.

"My opinion is that road safety measures like these are to be strengthened and Gopinath Munde would not have died if had used seat belt."

In a lighter vein, the minister said the first thing that he did on getting into the car on arriving here was to search for the seat belt but it was missing.

On Kerala's demand for an AIMS, he said the Centre had already made a decision in this regard and was awaiting the state government's report on the location for it.

It would require 200 acres of land which was easily accessible to the people.

PTI

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