Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Jan 31:
Cuttack and Khurda districts are now eligible to be declared smoke free, informed Utpal Das, Project Manager of Control of Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) while speaking on the release of compliance study on section 4 and 6 (b) of COTPA 2003 here on Friday.
Das said according to the survey conducted by Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) Aparajita, a national level organisation for tobacco control and smoke free public places, the vast majority of schools in these two districts have displayed signboards proclaiming ‘Sale of cigarette and other tobacco products in an area within 100 yards of this institution is strictly prohibited.’ ‘
Aparajita’, it may be noted, has undertaken a project to keep all the educational institutions in four districts – Cuttack, Khurda, Puri and Ganjam – free from tobacco products.
The study by VHAI revealed that ‘No smoking’ signage is present in more than 85-90 per cent of public places of Khurda, Cuttack and Puri districts. However, most of the public offices have not displayed the name of the designated authority in the premises of their concerned offices, it noted.
The survey did not find instances of smoking in more than 90 per cent of the public places like offices, educational institutions and the transport sector in Cuttack and Khurda districts during the period of study. Smoking aids like ashtrays, matches or lighters were not found in 90 per cent of public places in these two districts. But it found that smoking does exist in the hospitality sector, Das said.
VHAI was working hand-in-hand with the district administrations for effective implementation of section 4 and 6 (b) of COTPA 2003 to assess the compliance level of smoke free rules in public places and educational institutions in order to fight cancer and other lung diseases in the state.
Das said similar studies have also been conducted earlier by VHAI and its partner organisations in many states of our country. Srinagar, Jammu, Budgam, Reasi districts in Jammu and Kashmir, Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan, Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, Dhar, Burhanpur, Khandwa, Khargone and Alirajpur and Jhabua districts in Madhya Pradesh, Kottayam, Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram districts of Kerala and in entire state of Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh have already been declared smoke free, the COTPA project manager said.