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One fourth of J-K population consumes cigarette, other tobacco products: Survey
54,000 challans presented against violators of law, 52 lakhs accrued
5/17/2016 11:24:54 PM

Jehangir Rashid

Early Times Report

SRINAGAR, May 17: More than one fourth of the total population of Jammu & Kashmir consumes tobacco on one form or other. At the same time, more than 50,000 smokers have been challaned by the law enforcing agencies for smoking at the public places during the past three years.
According to the survey conducted by Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) it has come to the fore that 26.6 percent adults in Jammu & Kashmir are currently tobacco in any form. The survey points out that while 41 percent men consume tobacco, the percentage of the women that consume tobacco is 10.3 percent.
The figures about the tobacco users along with some other facets were released during a media sensitization workshop organized by Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) and Jammu & Kashmir Voluntary Health & Development Association (J&K VHDA) here today.
Binoy Mathew of VHAI said that during 2013 to April 2016 the law enforcing agencies presented challan against 54,455 persons after it was found that they were smoking at public places at different places in the state. He said the state government accrued revenue of more than 52 lakhs from the violators of law.
"Regulations of Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) 2003 are being implemented in letter and spirit in the state, but still then lot needs to be done. We propose that the state government should increase the tax on cigarettes from 40 percent to 65 percent so that smokers are discouraged and at the same time the revenue gets enhanced on this count," said Mathew.
Mathew said that the cigarette companies should be impressed upon to introduce 85 percent pictorial warning on the cigarette packs and that too on both the sides. He said that some of the companies have started to do the same, adding that the other companies should follow the suit so that COTPA is implemented in toto.
Ali Mohammad Mir, Executive Director, J&K VHDA said that enforcement of anti-smoking laws is done by police only with the gazetted officers of the state failing in this regard so far. He said the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in the court of law has awakened the government adding that still then lot needs to be done. "It is heartening that the state government increased the tax on cigarettes from 13.50 percent to 40 percent in the last budget. We wish and hope that the smoking is non-existent in the state. The state government needs to be tough in this regard and they should not allow entry of cigarettes and other tobacco products into the state. The personnel manning the Lakhanpur check post should be authorized to seal such consignment so that tougher measures are taken against violators of law," said Mir.
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