SAS Nagar : In a major crackdown on illicit sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products and smoking in public places, nine teams of the District health department conducted raids in various parts of the district in the last ten days. The teams comprising nodal officers and other health officials carried out surprise checks at 220 shops, kiosks and street vendors selling tobacco products.
‘A total of 100 chalans were issued to the shopkeepers and street vendors selling tobacco products in violation of the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition) (COTPA) Act, 2003 and a fine worth Rs.18,000 was collected from the violators. As many as 8 public smokers were also slapped with the fine.”informed Civil Surgeon Dr. Adarshpal Kaur and Anti-tobacco wing Nodal officer Dr. Navdeep Singh.
Teams of the Anti-tobacco cell of the health department carried out the inspections with the help of local police. All the teams visited the markets of Mohali, Gharuan, Kharar, Derabassi, Boothgarh, Kurali, Banur, Dhakoli, Lalru.Giving out more details, Dr.Adarshpal Kaur said that some street vendors were caught selling cigarettes without any pictorial warning on them whereas some shopkeepers were selling imported cigarettes in violation of the Act.
During the raids, it was found that many grocery shops were selling tobacco products, which is prohibited under the law. As per the law, tobacco products cannot be sold in a grocery shop. Similarly, some shopkeepers and street vendors were selling loose cigarettes. Instructions were given to shopkeepers to put out warnings on the health hazards due to tobacco use. They were also asked to put out advertisements saying that they do not sell tobacco items to those below 18 years of age.
Section 4 of the Act prohibits smoking in public places and section 6 prohibits the selling of tobacco products to minors. She said the raids will continue and strict action would be taken against the violators in future. She appealed to the citizens to help the health department curb usage of tobacco products and also to effectively implement the anti-tobacco law.It may be noted that the district health department has been constantly carrying out Information, Education and Communication (IED) campaigns regarding the proper implementation of the COTPA Act and urging people to stop use of cigarettes and other tobacco products as these are detrimental to health.
Violations under COTPA
Smoking in public places.Direct or indirect advertisement of cigarettes and other tobacco products.Sale of cigarettes or other tobacco products to persons below 18 years of age.Sale of tobacco products in an area within a radius of one hundred yards of any educational institution.Sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products without mandatory 85% pictorial warning.