During a recent study conducted at Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Guwahati it was found that tobacco vendors were violating the COTPA, 2003 in Jorhat.
This was informed by advocate Ajoy Hazarika, secretary, Consumers’ Legal Protection Forum (CLPF), while sharing the findings of the study during a state level workshop on tobacco control at AMSA Hall in Jorhat in collaboration with Sankalpasikha, Jorhat.
Advocate Hazarika said, “The density of tobacco vendors is too high in both commercial and residential areas and there is no record available of tobacco vendors. We found 324 tobacco vendors in 6 wards/areas in Jorhat.”
The purpose of the workshop was sensitization of stakeholders to support vendor licensing and effective tobacco control measures.
“Mandatory warning display board was not found at 34 % tobacco point of sale,” said the CLPF secretary, adding, “Tobacco products are displayed openly, amounting to advertisements at every point of sale. Some kind of tobacco product advertisements were found at 100 % point of sale.”
He also said despite ban in the state, sale of loose cigarettes is rampant (100%), which frustrate purpose of pictorial warning at package and to make them affordable for youth and low income groups.
While stating that 80% of tobacco vendors were found selling candy, chips etc. the products meant for and to attract children/youth to tobacco shops, he suggested developing a mechanism of tobacco vendor licensing in Jorhat by municipalities to control in tobacco consumption.
It may be mentioned that the central government on September 28, 2018 issued advisories to the state government and urban local bodies for ensuring licensing mechanism for tobacco vendors with restriction on sale of candy, chips etc.
Paban Bordoloi, vice-chairman, Jorhat Municipal Board, who attended the workshop as chief guest, spoke on the “Role of municipal bodies in tobacco control”.
There was also a panel discussion on the “Needs and strategies for protecting young generation from the menace of tobacco” where Dr. Amrit Kr. Saikia, joint director of Health Service, Jorhat; Najmee Ayysha Ahmed, honorary secretary, District Legal Services Authority, Jorhat; Dr. Bhaktimay Bhattacharyya, nodal officer, DTCC, Jorhat & Prokash Sharma, officer in-charge, Special Police Task Force, APDCL, Jorhat gave their suggestions on the issue.
Senior journalist Anjan Kumar Bora spoke on “the role of media in tobacco control” while Dr. Suvasish Sharma, Professor & head, Political Science, JB College, Jorhat addressed on ‘Tobacco control in smart cities”.