Nawanshahr: A drive to make Punjab tobacco-free was launched from today. It was announced that the district SBS Nagar (Nawanshahr) would be made the first tobacco-free, model district of the state by launching twin drives- by creating awareness among the masses on the harmful effects of tobacco consumption on human beings and by strictly implementing the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA).
On the first day of the drive today, State Technical Advisor, COTPA, Dr S.P.Sareela and Programme Coordinator, State Tobacco Control Programme, Jasvir Bains held a meeting with the district health officials including Civil Surgeon Dr Maninder Kaur Minhas, DHO Dr Davinder Kataria, officials of district Anti-tobacco Task Force and members of various NGOs.
It was decided to intensify raids on violators of COTPA in the state in the coming days. Dr Sareela on the occasion said that while directions have already been issued for action against the non-licensee dealers and sellers of tobacco and tobacco-containing products under the Punjab Tobacco Vends Fee Act 1954, sale of other tobacco containing products like gutka, pan masala, scented chewable tobacco products and any other product having tobacco or nicotine has been banned under the Food and Safety Standard Act 2006. Programme Coordinator Jasvir Bains gave details about restrictions about sale of tobacco products in public places, and in the 100 yards vicinity of educational institutions etc. Sale of tobacco products to children could land the sellers in prison for seven years, it was revealed.
Meanwhile, under the anti-tobacco drive more than 40 persons were issued challans in Banga, Nawanshahr and Balachaur areas for violating COTPA while a Karyana dealer in the town was forced to destroy his tobacco products on the spot. In Banga, a shopkeeper was asked to pull down a hoarding promoting sale of tobacco products. He was also issued a challan for Rs 1,000 for the offence. DC Vipul Ujwal in a statement here today has sought the cooperation of people and NGOs to make the drive a success.
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