The district administration, with the help of the Police Department and various voluntary organizations, is trying to make Kozhikode a tobacco-free district as per the Cigarettes and Other tobacco products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act (COTPA), 2003.
District Collector C.A. Latha said in a press release here on Tuesday that the district administration aimed at coordinating various departments and agencies for the purpose. The district would get a ‘public health friendly’ status in three months, she said.
The project was part of the government’s policy to protect the public, especially children, from tobacco and drugs. The Collector had convened a meeting of various departments and agencies on August 7 to discuss the project. The response was favourable, the release said.
The target would be achieved through awareness programmes and strict enforcement of the laws by the police and other agencies, with the help of various institutions and the media, the release said.
The district administration would monitor and evaluate the implementation of the project. The details would be made available on the official website, Ms. Latha said.
Campaigns would be taken up to make people aware of the harm that tobacco could do. People’s representatives would take part in the project. The plan was to make it a model project for other districts and States to emulate, she said.
As per Section 4 of COTPA, smoking had been banned in public places. Advertising tobacco products in any manner was banned under Section 5. Section 6(a) banned the sale of tobacco products to anyone below 18 years of age.
The section also banned the sale of tobacco products within 100 meters of educational institutions. Section 7 spoke of mandatory health warnings on packets. All these would be enforced strictly, she said.
City Police Commissioner A.V. George and District Police Chief, Kozhikode rural, P.H. Ashraf said the police would cooperate wholeheartedly with the programme.
Police officers in the district had been trained and instructed in this regard. The programme was co-organized by ‘Tobacco Free Kerala.’
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