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Consumer VOICE Press Release on Tobacco Free Zones in Government Buildings

Health hazards of tobacco is not unknown. A regular smoker loses more than a decade of life. The use of tobacco is a prominent risk factor and almost 40% of Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) including cancers, cardiovascular diseases and lung disorders are attributed to the use of tobacco. The number of deaths every year in India due to tobacco is almost 10 lakhs. According to the global adult tobacco survey 2016-17 (GATS-2) the numbers of tobacco related deaths per day in India are 3,700, which are almost 154 per hour.
 
Tobacco use is one of the most important preventable causes of premature death in the world. There is no question that limiting tobacco use is one of the most effective ways to save lives and improve overall well-being. Keeping this in mind, the government enacted the Cigarettes and other Tobacco products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulations of Trade and Commerce Production, Supply and Distribution) Act (COTPA) in 2003 especially keeping the youth in mind. Moving a step further, the Government started a "Swachh Bharat Swasth Bharat' campaign in the premises of Nirman Bhawan which is now declared as Tobacco free Zone.
 
Citing the example of Nirman Bhawan, the Secretary of Health, Smt. Preeti Sudan has urged the concerned authorities of states/UT Chief Secretaries to make government buildings/offices tobacco free in order to protect public health in their specific states.
Supporting the decision, Consumer VOICE requested its state partners to circulate the press release and urged all to make public areas tobacco free zone.

PRESS RELEASE

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Chandigarh: Consumer VOICE and its state partners have applauded the decision by Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to declare Government Offices and buildings “Tobacco Free”. In a recent letter written by Union Health Secretary, Smt. Preeti Sudan to the Chief Secretaries of all State & Union Territories, Smt. Sudan has asked the authorities to make government buildings/offices tobacco free in order to protect public health in their specific states.

The letter also states that the Union Ministry is willing to provide technical support to states for implementing this policy. Recently the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, based at Nirman Bhawan, has already taken this initiative and issued a circular for banning use of any form of tobacco in the building. Smoking and spitting of tobacco in the premises of Nirman Bhawan is strictly prohibited and is a punishable offence.

Taking forward this initiative to help people in large, the health secretary has stated this example of Nirman Bhawan and urged the states to follow the same.

Mr. Ashim Sanyal, COO, Consumer VOICE emphatically stated “It is appreciable step taken by the health ministry. Tobacco use is the leading single preventable cause of deaths worldwide. India is the third largest tobacco producing nation and second largest consumer of tobacco world-wide. The second-hand smoke from cigarettes pose a risk to non-smokers, children and pregnant ladies as well. The decision will protect people from the menace of tobacco.

The decision will help to curb the proliferation of smoking as well as use of other tobacco products in the state. According to the global adult tobacco survey 2016-17 (GATS-2) the numbers of tobacco related deaths per day in India are 3,700, which are almost 154 per hour.

“Tobacco use is highly detrimental to health. It is a major risk factor for Cancer, Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD), diabetes, chronic lung disease, stroke, infertility, blindness, Tuberculosis (TB) and oral cavity etc.

The number of deaths every year in India, which is attributable to tobacco use, is 8-9 lakhs.
Section (4) of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce Production, Supply and Distribution) Act 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 centres, public offices, court buildings, educational institutions, libraries, coffee houses, canteens, banks, clubs and also open spaces surrounding hotels/restaurants etc.