The Consumers’ Legal Protection Forum (CLPF), Assam has demanded the Assam government to ban spitting in public places and prohibit consumption and sale of paan, gutka and tobacco.
The Forum in a letter submitted a letter to Assam chief secretary Jishnu Barua called to ban spitting and prohibit the use of smoke and smokeless tobacco products in public places in the State.
In 2020, during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Assam government banned spitting in public places and declared it a punishable offence with a fine.
The government also prohibited the consumption and sale of paan, gutka, tobacco, etc. in public places.
In his letter, CLPF secretary Ajoy Hazarika said, “Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had appealed the general public to refrain from consuming the smokeless tobacco product and spitting in a public place during the COVID epidemic.
“According to WHO advisory ‘Chewing smokeless tobacco (khaini, zarda, gutka, paan and paan masala with tobacco) and areca nut (supari) increase saliva production and enhance the urge to spit repeatedly. Spitting in public places could increase the spread of COVID -19.”
Dr. Amal Chandra Kataki, Director, Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati has also appealed to the government to ban selling all forms of tobacco products.
“The whole world is fighting against COVID-19 and the States are taking significant preventive measures to curb coronavirus impact. The government should ban selling all forms of tobacco products as it can indirectly spread the infection by spitting and smoking by some infected tobacco users,” he said.