WORLD IS OBSERVING ‘NO TOBACCO DAY’ BUT DESPITE BAN ON TOBACCO, SALE OF ITS PRODUCTS RAMPANT IN ODISHA :

World is observing No Tobacco Day today with a message to make the society tobacco free and to promote a healthy life. Despite prohibition and ban on Tobacco, the sale of products is rampant in Odisha due to lapses in enforcement. According to a survey report, approximately 60 lakh people die due to consumption of tobacco products across the globe every year. The number of casualties due to tobacco consumption is also recorded high in India, which is known as the capital of mouth cancer in world.  In Odisha, the percentage of tobacco consumers has also been recorded high even after ban on sale of tobacco products in markets.  As per survey report 2015-16 by National Family Health, the percentage of male consumers was 45.3 and 10% female in rural areas, while the percentage of male consumers was recorded 58.8% and female at 18.9% in urban Odisha. On the other hand, while 43.7% male and 23.7% female addicted to tobacco chewing, wanted to quit tobacco consumption in urban areas, the percentage of 33.2% male and 16.8% female were found to give up the tobacco consumption habit in villages in Odisha in past one year during the survey.  The survey was conducted on tobacco consumers at the age between 15-49 years. The survey report shows the horrible picture of Odisha in terms of tobacco product consumption. While 35-36% consumers were found in India, the percentage remained higher in Odisha with 46%, which is higher that national average.  Approximately, 2500 people become the victims of tobacco consumption every day in Odisha. The number of casualties due to tobacco consumption is higher than the death reported due to HIV AIDS.  In view of the number of deaths occur due to tobacco consumption across world, Odisha government in 2013 had issued a ban order on sale of tobacco products in the shops and markets. Even after four years of the directive prohibiting such sale, the ban has remained on pen and paper only. The rampant violation of anti-tobacco act is found everywhere and every minute in Odisha.  The tobacco products like pan masala are being sold everywhere right from the areas of educational institutions to hospitals. As per Section 6 of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act or COTPA 2003, No person shall sell, offer for Sale or permit sale of, cigarettes or any other tobacco product to any person who is under eighteen years of age, and no person shall sell, offer for Sale or permit sale of, cigarettes or any other tobacco product in an area within a radius of one hundred yards of any educational institution. However, the law appears to be defunct. As the raids are not being conducted continuously on the shops selling the banned tobacco products, the sale is on rise and the government is bearing Rs 300 crore loss in revenue, said a member of an anti-liquor organisation.  The Odisha Sun Times Bureau : 31st. May,17

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