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‘Tobacco-free youth’ campaign: ‘2400 challans, Rs 1.5 lakh fine in last two years’

‘Tobacco-free youth’ campaign: ‘2400 challans, Rs 1.5 lakh fine in last two years’

Slew of measures being taken to decrease percentage of tobacco consumption: Nodal Officer

Jahangeer Ganaie

Srinagar, Aug 03 (KNO): Under the ‘tobacco-free youth’ campaign, around 2400 challans were produced while the revenue of over Rs 1.5 lakh was generated in Kashmir in the last two months, officials said.

Union Health Ministry launched a 60-day pan-India campaign on ‘tobacco-free youth’ on World No Tobacco Day, May 31, to prevent initiation of tobacco use among youngsters and assist the users to quit.

Talking to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), Dr Mir Mushtaq, Nodal Officer (Kashmir Division), National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) said that under Section 4 of the COTPA, 2209 challans were produced against the violators and a revenue of Rs 1,47,046 was generated.

He said 73 challans were done under Section 5 of the COTPA and in 59 cases, action was taken, while 54 challans were done for Section 6(b) of the COTPA and Rs 8,730 were generated.

Dr Mushtaq said that 5,06,860 no-tobacco pledges were taken, 2743 rallies were conducted in schools and 2,833 school awareness activities including debates were conducted in the last two months.

“Under IEC activities, different notices, social media campaigns and awareness rallies were conducted and 420-gram sabha meetings under tobacco-free village monitoring and 184 miking and Nukad Natak programmes were held,” he said.

The government has taken a slew of measures to decrease the percentage of tobacco consumption as over 20,000 challans have been produced, the Nodal Officer said, adding that over Rs 15 lakh was collected from violators for smoking in public places in the Kashmir division in the last four years.

Awareness programmes are being conducted to inform people about the ill effects of tobacco and if we are able to make people conscious, there won’t need for enforcement, he added.

Dr Mir said various awareness programmes have already been started to educate people about the hazards of tobacco chewing and smoking. He said the officials have been directed to conduct regular enforcement drives for the implementation of COTPA-2003.

As per the National Health Survey figures, the prevalence of tobacco in Kashmir includes Kupwara 56%, Shopian 52%, Anantnag and Bandipora 49% each, Budgam 48 %, Pulwama 44%, Ganderbal 42%, Baramulla and Kulgam 41% each and Srinagar 38%.

As per the GATS 2 data, 35.2% of men, 5.1% of women and 20.8% of all adults smoke tobacco in J&K.

The data states 6.8% of men and 1.5% of women and 4.3% of all adults currently use smokeless tobacco, 39.7% of men and 6.2% of women and 23.7% of all adults either smoke tobacco or use smokeless tobacco.

The government of Jammu and Kashmir has also imposed a complete ban on the sale of loose cigarettes, loose beedis and loose tobacco while all educational institutions and tourist destinations were declared as tobacco-free zones.

Tobacco is said to be the leading cause of preventable deaths in the world. It kills approximately more than seven million globally and more than one million in India. Lung cancer has been found to be the second commonest cancer. In the past few decades, the cancer catastrophe has created havoc globally, Kashmir has witnessed a rise in cases of lung and breast cancers.

As per the hospital-based data from the Kashmir Valley, males have a higher incidence of lung cancer. “There is a direct relation between length of smoking and number of cigarettes smoked per day. Even if smokers quit smoking, there are chances of developing cancer but these chances decrease to a greater extent,” the officials said—(KNO)

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