Consumer VOICE along with its state partner Consumer Legal Protection Forum, Assam, organised state level workshop on tobacco control issues at Hotel Ambarish Grand Residency, Guwahati , Assam on November 30, 2018.
The main objective of the event was to sensetize stakeholders to support vendor licensing and effective on tobacco control measures, especially to protect young generation from menace of tobacco. The programme started with an introductory message from Mr. Amarjeet Singh, Advisor Legal & Projects, Consumer VOICE, New Delhi. He shared the key findings of the recent study conducted on tobacco vendors in three main cities of Assam. The studies revealed that tobacco vendors are violating COTPA, 2003. He highlighted that 87% of vendors are selling tobacco with other products like candy, chips etc.
The findings also stated the following:
- Mandatory warning display board was not found at 67% of tobacco points of sale.
- Sale of loose cigarettes is rampant (around 33%) which frustrates the purpose of pictorial warning on package.
- Tobacco advertisements were found at 50% points of sale.
Ajoy Hazarika, General Secretary, CLPF, Assam said that Assam has shown a significant rise of 9 % in overall tobacco consumption. At the workshop Dr. Srabana Misra Bhagabaty, Associated Professor, Department of Preventive Oncology, Dr. Borooah Cancer Institute, Dr. Arundhati Deka State Nodal Officer, Sate Tobacco Control Cell, Assam Karavi Barman and Dr. Rehana Sultana Choudhury, Assistant Professor, NEF Law College, and Shri Pratul Phukan, Retd. DIG, Assam gave their valuable suggestions during the panel discussion on the subject.
Dr. Anandita Chanda, Senior Medical Officer, Guwahati Municipal Commission speaking on the role of municipal bodies said that they will explore the possibilities of tobacco vendor licensing to ensure strict implementation of tobacco control laws. Ms. Susmita Goswami, Bureau Chief, United News Service talked about how media can help to control this tobacco menace. Mr. Aarzoo, Senior State Consultant, National Tobacco Control Programme, Guwahati also shared his views on subject.
The programme was attended by around 50 participants including health experts, tobacco control officials, youth icons, officials from Municipal Corporations, student leaders, Resident Welfare Associations, representatives from Civil Societies, activists working on tobacco control, Consumer and Child right issues including media persons.
The event was widely covered by print media.