Taking stringent steps against tobacco consumption, police in Assam have started fining people for smoking in public places, selling tobacco products to minors and advertising nicotine-based items, in violation of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003.
The drive against tobacco consumption by the Assam Police started on June 10. As a part of the drive, shop owners were fined for selling cigarette packets with inadequate display of warnings and setting up stalls for selling tobacco products within 100 yards of schools.
Enforcing the Act would go a long way in reducing the prevalence of tobacco use among people, Dr Ramandeep Kaur, DCP East Guwahati, said.
“We hope this campaign will increase public awareness and help in making our public places and educational institutes tobacco-free,” the DCP said.
The police action was taken under the direction of the Guwahati Commissioner of Police Hiren Chandra Nath, Kaur said.
It was being done with the objective of keeping the youth away from tobacco addiction and preventing non-smokers from the bad effects of inhaling passive smoke, Kaur said.
The police officials who are involved in the enforcement of COTPA participated in a training conducted by Sambandh Health Foundation (SHF) during which they had taken a pledge to support the cause of tobacco control in the state.
Dr Ashok Das, a cancer surgeon at B Barooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) in Guwahati and patron of Voice of Tobacco Victims said, “The enforcement of COPTA by the police in Guwahati is commendable.”
Seven facts about tobacco consumption in Assam as per SHF sources: