From a Correspondent
Dibrugarh, July 13: A memorandum was submitted to Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal for the strict and speedy implementation of the Assam Health Act, 2013, for checking the growing use of smokeless tobacco products, mainly pan masala, and zarda mixture among the students.
The memorandum which was given to the Chief Minister by Ammanuddin Ahmed on behalf of the residents of Paltanbazar area, raises deep concerns on easy availability of such smokeless tobacco products near schools, colleges health establishments which have resulted in rise of cancer patients at an alarming rate.
The memorandum further mentions that Assam became the first State in the country to ban all forms smokeless tobacco by introducing the Assam Health Act 2013 , yet very less number of cases have been registered under the said law. These as such have raised concerns regarding the role of the enforcement agencies in preventing the sale of smokeless tobacco products in the open market.
As such, Sonowal has been urged upon to necessitate stringent steps for immediate banning of zarda and other forms of tobacco products like Shikhar, gutka and Rajnigandha to save the youngsters from the clutches of the tobacco mece. A copy of the aforesaid memorandum has also been forwarded to the Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Himanta Biswa Sarma and to Deputy Commissioner MS Manivann.
According to a study conducted by the Public Health Foundation of India, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the total economic costs attributable to tobacco use in Assam amounted to Rs. 541 crore in the year 2011 for persons aged 35-69, of which 47 per cent was direct medical costs and 53 per cent was indirect morbidity costs.