Shocked by death of former Home Minister R R Patil due to oral cancer linked to chewing of tobacco, Maharashtra Health Minister Dr Deepak Sawant today said the government will take steps to curb its consumption.
“We cannot ban tobacco, but we will put curbs on tobacco consumption,” the minister said.
“So far, there are ads in cinema halls saying smoking is injurious to health but there is no stringent implementation,” the minister said.
Sawant said they will seek response from the law and judiciary department on what changes can be made in laws.
The health ministry has drawn up a 10-point plan to rid train stations, colleges, government offices and all public buildings of gutkha and paan masala.
Sawant said he will ask politicians, bureaucrats and government officials to quit chewing tobacco.
“It is really sad that we lost a senior politician and statesman to acute oral cancer,” Sawant said.
While chewing of tobacco is prohibited in public spaces under section 116 of the Bombay Police Act and sections 268 and 269 of the Indian Penal Code, these strictures are seldom enforced.