India’s Action plan for Tobacco-free states
History is full of researches that were done to figure out the harmful effects of tobacco on the health of the one who consumes it. The research done has usually focused on the harmful effects of cigarette smoking. Research study since 1950 has shown link between smoking and lung cancer.
This is the reason why the government of India issues advice that smoking and lung cancer are related. It is known to all that tobacco use is the biggest cause of preventable death world over. Half the people who consume tobacco products die from the results of tobacco use.
As per the estimate of World Health Organisation (WHO) each year around 6 million deaths are caused by consumption of tobacco. Last century has witnessed 100 million deaths due to consumption of tobacco. This is the reason why the Union Government of India and various state governments are trying to lower tobacco consumption and going for being tobacco free.
Here is the timeline of when cities, states and villages were declared smoke free in India.
2007 - Chandigarh declared as the first smoke free city.
2007 - Kottayam in Kerala declared as the second smoke free city.
2007 - Shimla in Himachal Pradesh declared as the third smoke free city.
2010 - Sikkim declared the first smoke free state.
2014 - Himachal Pradesh became the second smoke free state.
2014 - Gariphema village in Nagaland declared the first tobacco-free village.
2016 - Kohima in Nagaland declared the fourth smoke free city.
In February 2014 Assam became the first state that went on to ban consumption of all form of smokeless tobacco by a law. Even pan masala which contain tobacco and nicotine are banned in Assam. Not just that Assam has also banned manufacture, advertisement, trade, storage, distribution and sale of smokeless tobacco products.
It comes as a pleasant surprise that Nagaland which has the second highest smoker population in India is opting for smoke free village and city. As per the Joint Director of Health and Family Welfare Department of Nagaland, 57% of people in Nagaland smoke. 28% school children chew tobacco and 14% students smoke. The worst part is that around 41% children buy tobacco products for their parents or family members or other elders.
Union Government too has taken measures to discourage the consumption of tobacco products:
- Enactment of the "Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, (COTPA) 2003".
- Ratification of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
- Launch of the National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) in the year 2007-08, with the objectives to (a) create awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco consumption, (b) reduce the production and supply of tobacco products, (c) ensure effective implementation of the anti-tobacco laws and (d) help the people quit tobacco use through Tobacco Cessation Centres.
- Notification of rules to ban smoking in public places.
- Notification of rules to regulate depiction of tobacco products or their use in films and TV programmes.
- Notification of rules on new pictorial health warnings on tobacco product packages.
- Launch of public awareness campaigns through a variety of media.
- Government of India has issued regulations under the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 which lay down that tobacco or nicotine cannot be used as ingredients in food products. Manufacturing or sale of certain smokeless tobacco products has been prohibited under these regulations. Tobacco products are regulated by the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA 2003), which contain provisions, inter alia, relating to ban on sale of tobacco products by or to minors, ban on sale of tobacco products within 100 yards of educational institutions, ban on promotions and advertisements of tobacco products, etc.