A study conducted by the Consumers’ Legal Protection Forum (CLPF) has identified 97 points of sale of tobacco products within a hundred yards of educational institutions in Assam.
The findings of the study titled “Big Tobacco: Tiny Targets” were released by CLPF secretary Ajoy Hazarika during a sensitization workshop organized by CLPF in collaboration with Consumer VOICE in Dibrugarh on Monday.
The study based on vending of tobacco products was conducted in Guwahati, Jorhat and Dibrugarh recently.
The study identified a total of 885 points of sale selling tobacco products within a hundred yards of educational institutes in India, including 97 in Assam.
In Assam, 36.08 per cent points of sale had tobacco products of Philip Morris International, 4.12 per cent points of sale had British American Tobacco products and 93.81 per cent points of sale had products of Imperial Tobacco Company of India Limited, which is the most popular among the Indian Companies.
While 95.88 per cent points of sale displayed tobacco products at the eye level of a child (about 1 meter high), 72.16 per cent displayed cigarettes in a way that concealed mandated health warning labels.
Again, 90.72 per cent points of sale displayed cigarettes near candies and sweets to attract children and 85.57 per cent sold single stick cigarettes.
Gayatri Gogoi, assistant professor of the Assam Medical College and Hospital said, ‘Municipalities should provide licenses only to shops that exclusively sell tobacco products so that children are not exposed to them in general stores.”
Vendors should only get licenses to sell such products in locations that are not within the proximity of educational institutions.
Municipal bodies should also follow the advisories issued by the health ministry and ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation to develop mechanisms for licensing tobacco vendors.