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Tobacco and spitting

It has been exactly a week that Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had issued an appeal to all states and union


Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  23 May 2020 3:25 AM GMT

It has been exactly a week that Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had issued an appeal to all states and union territories to ban the sale of tobacco products and spitting in public to check the spread of the coronavirus disease. According to the Union Health Minister people who use smokeless tobacco have a tendency to spit in public places, which in turn increases health risks, especially those of spreading contagious diseases like COVID-19, tuberculosis, swine flu, encephalitis and others. There is no gainsaying that the use of smokeless tobacco also creates an unhygienic environment which further helps spread various kinds of diseases including COVID-19. It is also common knowledge that large gatherings at the retail outlets where smokeless tobacco products are sold, also pose the risk of spread of COVID-19. While the Union Health Minister had underlined that tobacco use is a major threat to public health across the globe, he had also reminded the state governments of the Indian Council of Medical Research's (ICMR) appeal to the public not to consume and spit smokeless tobacco products in public places. It is also common knowledge that chewing tobacco products and areca nut – tamul-paan – increases production of saliva, which is followed by a very strong urge to spit. And, spitting in public places could enhance the spread of the COVID-19. Guidelines issued by the Union Home Ministry on May 1 under the National Disaster Management Act, 2005, had stipulated that "spitting in public places shall be punishable with fine as may be prescribed by the state/UT local authority and consumption of liquor, pan, gutkha, tobacco etc in public places is not allowed." The question is, non-smoking tobacco, including those which people in Assam consume in combination with tamul-paan, continues to be sold across the state. What prevents the State government to apply the provisions of law, as cited by the Union Home Ministry is a big question.

Also Read: Assam COVID-19 Cases Rise to 259; Three more test Positive

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