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Punjab's 13,000 Panchayats to take a pledge of not Consuming or Selling Tobacco
Published : May 31, 2023, 12:00 pm IST
Updated : May 31, 2023, 12:00 pm IST
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No Tobacco
No Tobacco

Major Initiative taken by the Health Department

CHANDIGARH: A Report of the World Health Organization (WHO) states that, more than 10 million deaths occur every year due to tobacco use in India. 12% of the world's smokers live in India. Amidst the crises, as a Ray of Hope, there is a good news from Punjab, as the state will soon become tobacco free.

On the special occasion of World No Tobacco Day, in Punjab, from May 31 to July 31, in two months, more than 13,000 villages under panchayats will take a pledge not to consume tobacco. Those who consume and sell tobacco will be fined. 739 villages of the state have become tobacco free. The theme-'We want food, not tobacco', will resonate across the state.

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According to NFHS-5 data (2020-21), the prevalence of tobacco use in Punjab has declined from 19.2% to 12.9% in 5 years, which is the lowest among all states in the country.

Notably, Tobacco is deadly in any shape or form. Scientific evidence has clearly established that exposure to tobacco smoke causes death, disease and disability. Nicotine is a harmful chemical. Due to this, blood pressure may increase along with many other diseases. Smoking can also cause cancer of the blood, bladder, cervix, lung, liver, kidney, throat, pancreas, mouth, throat, kidney, colon, anus, and stomach.

28244 schools (98.6%) out of 28632 in the state have been declared tobacco free with a self-assessment score of more than 90%. 739 villages of the state have declared themselves tobacco free. Now, for 2 months more than 13,000 panchayats will have to propose to make tobacco free villages.

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Under the Control of Tobacco Act (COTPA) 2003, smoking in public places, open sale of tobacco products is punishable by a fine of up to Rs 10,000 and imprisonment for 5 years.

Under COTPA 2003, 23,130 violators have been challaned under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act in the state in 2022-23.

Punjab is the second state in the country to permanently ban Hookah Bars. Two court case judgments in Mohali (Rs 1 lakh fine and 3 years imprisonment) and Sangrur (Rs 55,000 fine and 3 years imprisonment) have penalized sellers of e-cigarettes under the Drug and Cosmetic Act.

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ROZANA SPOKESMAN , AMANAT THAPER

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