Will the ban be effective, Mr Health Minister?

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The government’s proposal to ban tobacco products is a right step but will it work?

Tobacco-leadThe Maharashtra government is planning to impose a ban on consumption of tobacco at public places. The state government has taken this decision after the R R Patil’s death due to oral cancer. What took the government so long to take this step as already 2 crore people consume tobacco in the state? Earlier the state government had banned Gutka and Pan Masala but sale of these products continue unabated in the state. Such products are also available at inflated rates in the market. While chewing of tobacco is prohibited in public spaces under section 116 of the Bombay Police Act and sections 268 and 269 of the Indian Penal Code, these strictures are seldom enforced.

nawab-malikjpgNCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “Earlier the government had banned the tobacco products. It’s certainly a right step taken by the government as people are dying due to cancers caused by tobacco intake. If these products remain unavailable then the new generation won’t be addicted to it.”

AlvinAlvin Appos, who is pursuing MBA in Finance, Mira road (E) said, “According to me, tobacco should be banned completely. It is indeed sad that a politician’s death gives this issue importance and a serious ban should be imposed on tobacco products.”

AzizAziz Shaikh, an automobile engineering student from Andheri said, “Tobacco will not be banned so easily unless and until very harsh measures and steps are taken against its sale and manufacture. Just as alcohol is banned in Gujarat, in the same manner strict action should be taken against people consuming tobacco. People should understand that tobacco is a sweet poison which will NOT kill them immediately but eventually.”

purviPurvi Pai, a BMM student, Virar (W) said, “Ban on tobacco will be effective to a certain extent but I doubt it will have any effect on youth. They will always find an option to purchase these products from the black market.”

JadanJadan Mendes, a Hotel Management student from Marol said, “The ban on tobacco depends on how the government takes measures to implement the ban and make it effective.”

“Consumption of tobacco at public places will be banned and necessary steps taken in this regard. The incidence of cancer is the same as it was 20 years ago. That is why there is a need to create awareness about it” said Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of Maharashtra.

“It is seen that sale of tobacco and paan masala is on the rise in the vicinity of educational institutions. A ban on their sale will be enforced with the help of Home and education departments” he said.

Health Minister Dr Deepak Sawant said, “It is really sad that we lost a senior politician and statesman to acute oral cancer.”

Sawant will begin the anti-tobacco campaign from educational institutions. He also plans to take action against teachers and staff members who consume tobacco products inside the premises of educational institutions.

According to sources in the health department, those found selling smokeless tobacco could be sentenced to a jail term of up to seven years and fined as much as Rs one lakh, while those found chewing the substance could be fined up to Rs 1,000.

While a complete ban on tobacco products in the state is unlikely, the Maharashtra government is considering amending the law to restrict the practice of chewing tobacco and consuming tobacco products in public places and government offices.