Mangaluru: Tax Raise on Tobacco will Decrease Death Rate – DHO Dr Ramakrishna Rao

Mangaluru: The District Health department held a workshop on effective implementation of Tobacco Control Laws in Karnataka by Capacity building and monitoring at the deputy commissioner’s office here on August 26.

District Health officer in his introductory remarks Dr Ramakrishna Rao  said that tobacco is the single greatest cause of preventable deaths in the world. Every year tobacco causes 6 million deaths. Tobacco consumption affects the heart, liver and lungs. Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease such as attacks, strokes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancer particularly of the lungs, mouth and pancreas. It also causes peripheral vascular disease and hypertension. The effects depend on the number of years that a person smokes and on how much the person smokes. Environmental tobacco smoke or secondhand smoke has been shown to cause adverse health effects in people of all ages. Tobacco use is a significant factor in miscarriages among pregnant smokers, and it contributes to a number of other health problems of the fetus such as premature birth, low birth weight, and increases by 1.4 to 3 times the chance of sudden infant death syndrome. Tobacco also contains nicotine, which is a highly addictive psychoactive drug. When tobacco is smoked, nicotine causes physical and psychological dependency. Increasing the retail price of tobacco products through higher taxes is the single most effective way to decrease consumption and encourage tobacco users to quit.

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Dr Chandrakanth, briefed on the COTPA act, he said that the government has taken measures to control the consumption of tobacco with usage and sales restrictions as well as warning messages printed on the packaging. Taxing tobacco products in an effort to increase the price is also effective. The government made COTPA act effective from the year 2008. According to COTPA Section 4 says, Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places No person shall smoke in any public place, Provided that in a hotel having thirty rooms or a restaurant having seating capacity of thirty persons or more and in the airports, a separate provision for smoking area or space may be made.

Section (4) of the COTPA 2003 prohibits smoking in all public places. ‘Public Place’ is defined as any place to which the public has access whether as of right or not and includes all places visited by general public namely auditorium, hospital building, railway waiting room, amusement centers, public offices, court buildings, educational institutions, libraries, coffee houses, canteens, banks, clubs and also open spaces surrounding hotels/restaurants etc .

According to COTPA act the signage board should be displayed as per the specification,
The board shall be of minimum size of 60 cm by 30 cm of white background, It shall contain a circle of no less than 15 cm outer diameter with a red perimeter of no less than 3 cm wide with a picture, in the centre, of a cigarette or beedi with black smoke and crossed by a red band. The width of the red band across the cigarette shall equal the width of the red perimeter. The board shall contain the warning “No Smoking Area- Smoking Here is an Offence”, in English or one Indian language, as applicable. The board shall be prominently displayed at each entrance of the public place and a conspicuous place(s) inside the building. If there are more than one entrance then at all entrances and exists. If there are more than one floor, at each floor including the stair case and entrance to the lift at each floor. Notify and display the name of a person (designated officer) to whom a complaint may be made, in case someone is found violating the law.

All public places have to be smoke-free. However, owner, proprietor, manager or supervisor or in-charge of affairs of the hotels having 30 or more rooms and restaurants having seating capacity of 30 or more and the manager of the airport may provide a separate smoking area. Keeping in mind the following prescribed guidelines.

Should be used only for the purpose of smoking and no other service(s) shall be allowed
Shall not be established at the entrance or exit of the hotel, restaurant or airport and
shall be distinctly marked as ‘smoking area’ in English and one Indian language as applicable.
Physically separated and surrounded by full height walls on all four sides. Having an entrance with automatically closing doors normally kept in close position with an airflow system that is exhausted directly to the outside and not mixed back into the supply to the other parts of the building. That is fitted with a exhaust ventilation system which is non re-circulating in nature or an air cleaning system or a combination of two, in such a manner that air does not permeate into non smoking areas. The Smoking area has a negative air pressure in comparison with the remainder of the building.

Any violation of any Provision in this section is a punishable offence with fine extending up to Rs 200.

An offence under this section shall be compoundable and shall be tried summarily in accordance with the procedure provided for summary trials in Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.”

Bantwal circle inspector Rahul said that in Bantwal we have called a meeting by inviting the auto drivers, government employees, beedi rollers, Bar owners, institution heads and other officials. We have also conducted a day-long workshop in Puttur and Bantwal. We have given 10 days time to stop selling tobacco. In Puttur and Bantwal we have booked 51 cases and collected a fine of Rs 5100. In the last 20 days in DK we have booked 1729 cases and collected a fine of Rs 3,01470.

Additional Deputy commissioner Kumar inaugurated the workshop by lighting the traditional lamp along with other dignitaries.

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