Sunday 21 July 2024

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Issues | Smoking

Smoking ban to begin with awareness campaign


A three-prone strategy has been chalked out by the government to implement the legislation regarding ban on smoking and spitting in public places, beginning from today.

With prime thrust on public awareness, the crackdown on tobacco consumers in public places would however actually begin from 1 January.

The ban on any kind of advertising or display of any tobacco product however comes into effect immediately as the Goa Prohibition of Smoking and Spitting Act is being notified from today.

The third strategy is a cessation programme for those addicts who want to quit smoking or chewing tobacco, with active participation of state-run health centres as well as private practitioners and medical officers.

In order to implement the whole act in an effective and systematic manner, chief minister Luizinho Faleiro yesterday announced formation of a high power committee, headed by chief secretary Ashok Nath.

Besides other officials from the environment and health departments, the committee also includes the opposition leader, two MLAs, Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Dattaraj Salgaoncar, National Organisation of Tobacco Eradication president Sharad Vaidya as well as Goa University vice chancellor, women's commission chairperson and school complexes chairman.

The HPC has also been entrusted with the work to monitor implementation of two other acts, which bans urinating and throwing plastic in public places.

While banning advertising of tobacco products through print and electronic media as well as cable television networks, the state government has decided to utilise all these means to carry out effective campaign against use of tobacco. It includes even use of cinema halls and slide shows.

The awareness campaign, as told by Faleiro at a press conference yesterday, has been divided into three stages – by October end, November end and December end. The HPC has to accordingly chalk out a time-bound programme in this regard.

By the month end, the HPC would identify NGOs in all the talukas for monitoring implementation of the act at local levels. The No Smoking sign boards in all the public places would come up even in private establishments like hotels and places of amusement while the airlines operating in Goa would also be informed about it.

"Don't interpret the law as harassment by the police", appeals chief minister Faleiro to the tourists coming from all over the world. Besides air port broadcasts, the authorities also plan to request all the international airlines and travel operators to inform the tourists that use of tobacco in any form is prohibited in public places in Goa.

As a follow-up of the strategy, signboards would also come up in all the educational institutes by November end, besides conducting short courses for the teachers regarding the implementation, so that they pass on the message to the students and their families. Even the identified NGOs would be issued identity cards, authorising them to personally monitor the implementation.

The month of December would be the real warming up session, where the concerned monitoring authorities would actually catch hold of the violators but not punishing them. "They would be simply told not to repeat such act while also explaining them the consequences in case of violation", says Faleiro.

The real crackdown would then begin from 1 January 2000…. is now on Telegram & also Youtube. Kindly subscribe for free & remain updated.

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