Consumer VOICE, Delhi in collaboration with Rajkot Saher Jilla Grahak Suraksha Mandal, organised a state level workshop on tobacco control issues (vendor licensing) at Circuit House, Sarda Baugh, Ahmedabad on December 7, 2018.
The main objective of the event was to sensitise stakeholders to support vendor licensing and other effective tobacco control measures, especially to protect young generation from menace of tobacco. The programme started with the introductory message by Mr.Amarjeet Singh, Advisor Legal & Projects, Consumer VOICE, New Delhi who shared the key findings of the recent study conducted on tobacco vendors in three main cities of Gujarat. The studies revealed that tobacco vendors were violating COTPA (Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act), 2003.
He highlighted that the density of tobacco vendors is too high in both commercial and residential areas and there is no record available of tobacco vendors. According to the findings, there were 308 tobacco vendors in 6 wards/areas of 3 cities of Gujarat (Rajkot, Jamnagar & Morbi).
Violations revealed in the findings:
- Mandatory warning display board was not found at 34% tobacco point of sale.
- Tobacco products are displayed openly, amounting to advertisements at every point of sale.
- Some kind of tobacco product advertisements were found at 77 % point of sale.
- Despite ban in State, sale of loose cigarettes is rampant (at 100% point of sale), which frustrate purpose of pictorial warning at package and to make them affordable for youth and low income groups.
- 98 % Tobacco vendors were found Selling candy, chips etc. the products meant for and to attract children/youth to tobacco shops, despite the advisories against that by government of India.
Ms Bijalben Patel, Mayor, Ahmedabad was the Chief G uest at the workshop and assured of full support of Municipal Corporation in tobacco control efforts. She said we need to protect our kids from tobacco menace.
Speaking on the occasion Mr. Ramjibhai Mavani, trustee, Rajkot Saher Jilla Grahak Suraksha Mandal and former MP said that in Gujarat around 25% people use tobacco, which is a serious concern. We need to be proactive in saving our future generation from tobacco by strict enforcement of COTPA, by having mandatory tobacco vendor licensing system in Gujarat.
Workshop on vendor licensing in Ahmedabad
Dr.Kamlesh Parmar, from National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) said there is need for such initiatives to reduce the consumption of tobacco and for public health. He also mentions about the steps taken by tobacco control cell in the state.
Shri R.Parthsarathi Retd. IAS has emphasized on the importance of vendor licensing system and should be implemented on priority. He also gave a presentation on the harms of E-Cigarettes and requested state government to ban it.
Dr.Geetaben Joshi CEO Cancer Society, Ahmadabad through her presentation shared the health hazards associated with the usage of tobacco and the need for strict implementations of tobacco control laws in which vendor licensing can be very helpful.
There was a panel discussion on the need and strategies for protecting young generation from the menace of tobacco where Dr. Kamlesh Parmar – Program officer NTCP, Dr. Geetaben Joshi – CEO Community Oncology Centre, Gujarat Cancer Society, Shri M.N.Dhanani, Judge, Consumer Court, Smt. Ramaben Mavani, President- Rajkot Saher Jilla Grahak Suraksha Mandal gave their valuable suggestions on the subject.
The vote of thanks given by Ashok Koyani, Advisor, Rajkot Saher Jilla Grahak Suraksha Mandal.
The workshop was attended by around 80 participants health experts, tobacco control officials, youth icons, officials from Municipal Corporation, students leaders, media persons, students, Resident Welfare Associations, CSOs and including activists working on tobacco control, Consumer and Child right issues.