Himachal Schools For Licensing Shops Selling Tobacco Products

Shimla: With the intent of having tobacco free schools, educational institutions have asked for instituting licensing system for shops selling tobacco products like that they have for alcohol so that its availability can be restricted for users.

At a workshop on consumption of tobacco products including smoking and chewing, increasing drugs abuses especially among adolescents organized by HP Voluntary Health Association (HPVHA), an NGO with heads of educational institutions, principals from various schools asked enforcing agencies to prohibit sale of tobacco products within 100 yards of an educational institution under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 (COPTA).

Narender Sharma, executive director HPVHA said that to stop smoking in public places, citizen forums, flying squads and regular monitoring could help the city to retain its smoke free status.

It was, however, important to integrate the campaign with CHILDLINE – an initiative with a focus on tobacco free schools, for overcoming smoking and drug abuse among school going children, he said.

While the institutions were made aware about it being mandatory for putting up the prohibitive signages, those that did not do so at their entrances could be taken to task.

Under COPTA sale of tobacco product is prohibited to those below 18 years age. HPVHA, which has been working towards a tobacco free state asked police to intervene and ensure that shops selling tobacco products do put out mandatory signages about “Sale of Tobacco Product is prohibited to the minors”.

Reports by many agencies show that about 40% youths in Shimla cisty are consuming drugs and tobacco products, said Sharma.

Starting with using guttaka, smoking cigarettes and alcohol, which are easily available near schools, students take to consuming other drugs such as boot polish, fluid, corex, morphine – including opium, marijuana and smack said that HPVHA director.

Speaking on the occasion Director General Police DS Minhas, said that heads of educational institutions needed to focus on chemical substance abuse and related problems like abnormal sexual practices.

Emphasizing on the need to inculcate a sense of discipline and self control, the police chief said that it was important for teachers and parents to be more communicative with children and act as role models in their upbringing.

Shrikant Baldi, principal secretary education mooted having a health corner in every school that would take a special session on drug abuse and moral education.

Peer groups need to be formed for controlling drug abuses, he said.

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  1. says: Anil Chandel

    Nice inititative by HP Voluntary Health Association (HPVHA).

    Enforcing a drug/tobacco-free periphery around educational institutions, especially schools is a common sense measure to control substance abuse.

    Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 (COPTA) provides for prohibiting sale of tobacco products within 100 yards of an educational institution, so licensing won’t be of much help in those zones!

    Athough licensing and registration are good for businesses to operate legally, and to ensure that the business operators are educated about the laws and regulations that govern such operations, but how does licensing deter someone from providing such products to minors?

    Chemical substance abuse among students has been on the rise, despite licensing systems already in place for selling liquor and for pharmacies.

    It should be a crime punishable by imprisonment/fines to sell/provide any such substances (tobacco, liquor, gutka, syrups etc) to minors, if it isn’t already, atleast on paper.

    What’s lacking is enforcement of such measures. To enforce something, one has be vigilant about such activities, report the same and demand action against the perpetrators of such crimes!

    The “being vigilant” part of it, public can do it, the best. The citizens need to be vigilant about and report such activities. I would consider the public lucky, if the law enforcement followed through with legal action, even after receiving such complaints.

  2. says: Ramesh Badrel

    Your comment is acceptable and the licencing of tobacco products can at least stop the tobacco usage among school children especially gutka

  3. says: Rafathullah Ghori

    to stop tobacco usage among school children especially gutka ,an order to be passed from the govt that if any vendor caught red-hand selling these items to children he should be punished severely

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