Shimla: Making a call for a tobacco free state, chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal announced creation of a separate directorate of health safety and regulation to enforce various health related regulatory acts including a ban on smoking and tobacco products.
Speaking after flagging of a anti-tobacco campaign from The Ridge on the occasion of World Anti-Tobacco Day, Dhumal said with a ban on smoking in public places in place, provision of a fine of Rs 200 would be slapped on offenders.
Direct and indirect publicity of tobacco products attracted penal fines upto Rs 5000 and could extend to imprisonment from 2 to 5 years.
Sale of tobacco products to minors was forbidden as was its sale within a radius of 100 yards from any educational institution, he said.
Printing of statutory warning on tobacco products has been made mandatory, failing which a fine ranging between Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 10,000 could be imposed with imprisonment from one to five years.
About 57 percent of men and 5.7 percent women in India were habitual to consuming tobacco products but in Himachal about 40 percent men and 1.2 percent women were regular consumers of it.
Men smokers in Himachal at 33.6% against all India level at 32.7% was higher where as there were 1.1 % women smokers here than the countrywide 1.4 percent.
The government had constituted a state level coordination and monitoring committee and district level committees to monitor the ban on smoking in public places.
Besides, sensitization workshops and awareness campaigns were also being organised at different places to educate masses about the ill effects of tobacco use, said Dhumal.