GUWAHATI: The Consumer VOICE, Delhi and the Consumers' Legal Protection Forum (CLPF), Assam organized a state dissemination workshop — Big Tobacco: Tiny Targets — in Guwahati on Wednesday. The purpose of the workshop was sensitization of stakeholders on tobacco control measures, especially to protect young generation from tobacco menace.
Dr. Amal Chandra Kataki, Director, Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati inaugurated the workshop. In his inaugural speech, Dr. Kataki said that Municipal authorities should implement the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation's advisories to develop mechanism for licensing tobacco vendors.
"Vendor licensing assists enforcement and reduces young peoples' exposure to tobacco because suspension or withdrawal of a vendor's license for violations of COTPA is an effective sanction. Municipalities should provide licenses only to shops that exclusively sell tobacco products so that children are not exposed to them in general stores. Vendors should only licensed in locations that are not within the proximity of educational facilities," said Dr. Kataki.
CLPF Assam secretary, advocate AjoyHazarika shared the key findings of the study titled – Big Tobacco: Tiny Targets recently conducted about tobacco vendors in Guwahati, Jorhat and Dibrugarh. He told that, a total of 885 point of sale were identified selling tobacco products within 100 yards of educational institutes in India including 97 in Assam.
There was a panel discussion where Dr. ArundhatiDeka, State Nodel Officer, State Tobacco Control Cell, Assam; Dr. SubrataChanda, Program Manager, Assam Cancer Care Foundation; Dr. Girimallika Sarma, HOD, Social Works, USTM & Ganesh Pandit, representative of Tobacco retailer gave their valuable suggestions on how to save young generation from the menace of tobacco through tobacco vendor licensing and amendment of COPTA.
The workshop was largely attended by representatives of retailer associations and tobacco retailers, health experts, doctors, health officials and Tobacco Control Cell, parents, teachers' association, Education and Municipal officials, media persons, and youth activists, stated a release.