GUWAHATI | December 7, 2017
Shops selling tobacco products to minors without putting up signboards prohibiting their sale have come under the scanner of district authorities. Earlier this week, district tobacco control cell officials launched an enforcement drive and found out that many shops were violating Section 6(a) of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2004 (COTPA).
During the drive, paan shops were even found to be displaying advertisements of various tobacco products in a prominent fashion. According to the act, every seller of tobacco products must put up a signboard saying ‘sale of tobacco products to a person below the age of 18 years is a punishable offence’.
“The drive was carried out in Fancy Bazaar and we collected a fine of Rs 5,400,” said Samiran Baruah, the nodal officer of Kamrup (Metro) district tobacco control cell.
Assam is among the states in the northeast where consumption of tobacco among minors is higher compared to the national average. The latest Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS 2, 2016-17) factsheet on NE states revealed that prevalence of tobacco users among minors in the northeast is comparatively higher than the national average.
Barring Sikkim, which recorded zero percentage of tobacco usage among minors, the factsheet reported that tobacco usage (in percentage) among minors in states like Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Tripura, Nagaland, Assam and Manipur was 27, 25.1, 12.6, 11.6, 11.3, 9.1 and 9 respectively as compared to the national average of 4.4%.