Law mocked again, cigarette, tobacco products selling near schools

Shimla: Prohibited from selling cigarettes, beedis and other tobacco products within 100 meters of an educational institution under the National Tobacco Control Programme but were one to look at confectioners outside Government Senior Secondary school Boileauganj here blatantly violate the laws, its time the enforcing agencies took a hard look at what is happening around.

With a strength of more than 300 students in the institution, one of the many shopkeepers who sell cigarettes and tobacco products near the school premises said, “quiet a few of the senior students come here for a smoke during break time or after the days classes get over,”

The situation is no different at Himachal Pradesh University on Summer Hill were many grocery and confectionary stores located near the gate are selling cigarettes and tobacco products.

Mohan Lal, a concerned parent of one student said, “Liquor vends and tobacco shops near school are not permitted under the law but the authorities should enforce it. Both liquor and cigarettes have bad effect on the minds of school children.”

Easy availability of tobacco products is fueling addiction among the youth in Shimla. Tobacco products are a cause of cancer. It’s more damaging when its consumption begins at an early age.

People unaware of the fact that they are destroying future generation, are selling these products without any fear of getting punished or they often consider that law in India is only meant to be broken.

Mohal Lal demanded that like a license for liquor vends, it should be mandatory for all shopkeepers and business men selling and purchasing cigarettes to have a license to carry out this business.

When contacted, Ashok Kumar Sharma, principal of the government school denied any knowledge about his students buying cigarettes from the school gate itself.

“We are not aware of this activity around the school premises but now the district administration would be asked to take action these shopkeepers, he added.

When brought to the notice of deputy commissioner Dinesh Malhotra, he said “Strict action will be taken against errant shop owners found violating the law.

They will think twice before violating rules as they will now stand to lose their licenses, said Malhotra.

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