Teachers chewing tobacco in schools can be in trouble, COPTA flying squads to keep an eye

The anti anti-tobacco cell of Jharkhand has decided to keep a close watch on the use of tobacco inside schools across the state and take action under Cigarette and other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) 2003 against the teachers if they are caught chewing tobacco or smoking cigarette on the campus.

Under COTPA 2003, selling tobacco within 100 metre radius outside of educational institutions is banned and the government enforcement wing cracks down on them frequently but those who violate the rules inside the educational institutions go scot-free.

However, now antitobacco enforcement agency of the state would equally focus on checking violation of COTPA inside the school premises.

Since chief secretary DK Tiwary and health secretary Nitin Madan Kulkarni have stressed on reducing the prevalence rate of tobacco users of state by 2025, anti- tobacco cell of the state has focused on monitoring educational institutions, especially the schools where complaint against teacher of allegedly chewing tobacco frequently comes.

“There already exists a toll-free Central Complaint Line (1800110456) to lodge complaint against teacher if any of them chews or smokes inside the school. Whenever complaint was lodged through this line, action was taken. Antitobacco Cell has booked the teacher in Hazaribagh and other districts in the past. But now antitobacco flying squads of all three levels in district have been activated to intensify monitoring COTPA inside schools”, said Dr Lalit Ranjan Pathak, state nodal officer of National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) on Monday.

Chewing tobacco by teachers is a common practice in government schools in Jharkhand.

Jharkhand is aiming to bring down prevalence rate of tobacco users in state to 11% from existing prevalence rate of 38.9% by 2025, which government of India has set the target.

NTCP state consultant Rajiv Kumar said, besides Complaint Line, a plan is on cards to make Tobacco Quit Helpline (1800112356) number popular among people so that those tobacco users who want to get rid of it could take help of this line. State antitobacco cell has already opened counselling facility for tobacco users in all the districts of the state.



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