In the run-up to the international Conference Of Parties (COP)-7 for tobacco control scheduled for November this year, the Delhi police is beginning the implementation of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) 2003 in the capital starting Monday. P. Kamraj, special commissioner of Police (law&order) South, released the sectoral guidelines for tobacco control in Delhi, and with the launch of a booklet started sensitisation of police officials who will be the enforcers of the law.
Dr Mohini Daljeet Singh, CEO, Max India foundation, said, “Around 14-15% youngsters are addicts of smoking. Oral cancer has become the biggest killer of our times. Annually, 10 lakh people die because of tobacco smoking/chewing. The expenditure for cancer treatment begins at around Rs 10-12 lakhs. The situation seems even more pathetic because this can be easily prevented.”
Sanjay Seth, founder, Sambandh Health Foundation, who collaborated with the Delhi police for tobacco control said, “We have a law that requires proper implementation. It was not being implemented yet but with due sensitisation we helped Delhi police understand the need to implement COTPA. We know that COPTA is not the police’s priority. But the menace of tobacco can end only with active participation of the enforcers, like it has in Karnataka, Jammu & Kashmir etc.”
Last year Karnataka had declared to top in COTPA implementation with registration of 1,991 cases along with the collection of Rs 3,48,000 in fines.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests in a 2015 study on “Effects of Tobacco intake on Health and its Curing on Environment” said, “Tobacco consumption and cultivation of tobacco must be discouraged. Better coordinated efforts such as awareness campaigns need to be undertaken.”
Seema Gupta, director of Voluntary Health Association of India that works for tobacco control said, “The fact that India was chosen as a host for the international conference proves that India has achieved some landmarks in tobacco control. Delhi police’s efforts are timely as a COP7 host, Having said that, there are yet more amendments that COTPA requires like stricter pictorial warnings, empowered regulatory authority, increase in fine, etc.”