Police to report violations of anti-tobacco law, sale to minors

  • By Hindu
  • | Wednesday | 15th November, 2017

With children being easy targets to the appeal of tobacco products, all police stations will now be instructed to monitor and report violations of anti-tobacco law and sale of these products to minors. We have the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003, (COTPA) and the Juvenile Justice Act. Experts say that adolescents are most vulnerable to start tobacco use; most adult tobacco users start the habit in childhood or adolescence. We need stricter measures to stop their sale,” Dr. Patil said. Dr. Patil also plans to start a helpline where people can anonymously report unauthorised sale and consumption of tobacco in restricted areas.


With children being easy targets to the appeal of tobacco products, all police stations will now be instructed to monitor and report violations of anti-tobacco law and sale of these products to minors.

Minister of State for Home and Urban Development Ranjit Patil made the assurance on Tuesday, celebrated as Children’s Day. “There are many laws in Maharashtra to prevent children from consuming tobacco in any form. We have the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003, (COTPA) and the Juvenile Justice Act. Both these laws will be implemented strictly by the police to ensure a safe future for the children,” Dr. Patil said at a programme organised by the Tata Memorial Hospital and Sambandh Health Foundation.

“We will hold a meeting with all police officers, where they will be guided on the process of tobacco control. A review on the progress made under COTPA will also be taken,” said Dr. Patil.

He said the status of the tobacco control work will be included in the monthly crime analysis. Dr. Patil also plans to start a helpline where people can anonymously report unauthorised sale and consumption of tobacco in restricted areas.

Restricted areas

He expressed concern that tobacco products are sold near educational institutions despite their sale being prohibited within 100 yards of the premises. “A radius of 100 yards is not enough. We need stricter measures to stop their sale,” Dr. Patil said.

Experts say that adolescents are most vulnerable to start tobacco use; most adult tobacco users start the habit in childhood or adolescence. In 2002, an article titled ‘Tobacco use by Indian adolescents’ in an international journal said that tobacco companies were aggressively targeting developing countries like India through their advertising strategies.

It said, “Adolescents often get attracted to tobacco products because of such propaganda. There has been a rapid increase in trade and use of smokeless tobacco products in recent years in the country, which is a matter of serious concern to the health planners. It is important to understand various factors that influence and encourage young teenagers to start smoking or to use other tobacco products.”

Tata Memorial Hospital director Rajendra Badwe said every fifth child in the State consumes tobacco in some form. “Of all the cancer patients that come to the hospital, 30% are under the age of 30,” Dr. Badwe said.

The hospital’s head and neck surgeon, Pankaj Chaturvedi, a vocal anti-tobacco activist, said the minister’s acknowledgement of the problem was a positive step. “Dr. Patil comes from a medical background and he has closely seen the harm tobacco does. He has rightly said that steps need to be taken to protect our future generation from the effects of tobacco,” Dr. Chaturvedi said.

Low compliance

According to Dr. Chaturvedi, 80% shops that sell tobacco products are near educational institutions. “The law enforcers give priority to other crimes, while this violation is dealt with more through moral policing. However, now the Juvenile Justice Act makes selling of tobacco to children a criminal offence,” he said.

He added that compliance with law has been low so far, but the government could change this.

What the law says

Section 77 of the Juvenile Justice Act says that it is an offence against a child if a person gives, or causes to be given to any child, any intoxicating liquor or any narcotic drug or tobacco products or psychotropic substance, except on the order of a duly qualified medical practitioner. The offence is punishable with rigorous imprisonment up to seven years and a fine up to ?1 lakh. Section 78 deals with using minors for labour in places selling tobacco. Stay updated with all the Mumbai Latest News headlines here. For more exclusive & live news updates from all around India, stay connected with NYOOOZ.

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