Srinagar: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday directed authorities to take comprehensive steps for the implementation of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act at the state-level and to make J&K smoke-free.
In a handout issued here, Mufti also directed police to remove illegal billboards promoting sale of tobacco products from the city.
“The government will show greater intent in discouraging use of tobacco products, as it exposes people to the grave risk of lung cancer,” Mufti was quoted in the statement.
Mufti also sought support of Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI), an NGO, in generating mass awareness about hazards of tobacco smoking, which has shown an alarming upward trend in J&K. She asked the organization to liaise with the State Information Department so that both print and electronic media are roped in to protect people from the menace of smoking.
On Thursday, VHIA has quoted a study saying that JK spends more than other Indian states on tobacco products.
A delegation of VHAI also called on Mehbooba Mufti, at her residence, discussing various issues about alarming use of tobacco products.
During the meeting, the Chief Minister discussed with the Director VHAI, Seema Gupta, various measures required to be taken for comprehensive implementation of COPTA at the state-level and creating more smoke-free settings.
Seema Gupta requested the Chief Minister for creation of an Anti-Smoking Fund so that targeted interventions are made to protect women and children from falling prey to passive smoking. VHAI, she said will offer any technical support required by the government in making its anti-tobacco drives successful.
Director VHAI also indicated tobacco-tax increase as an effective way of reducing smoking and other tobacco use. She also appreciated the State government for imposing a tax of 40% on tobacco products, describing it as a win-win situation for states as they work to balance the budgets while preserving essential services.