Panaji (Goa) [India], September 5 (ANI): National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE) urged for regulation of tobacco sales to prevent tobacco usage among children during an orientation programme and a stakeholders workshop organized with the Delhi-based organization Voluntary Organisation in Interest of Consumer Education (VOICE) on Saturday.
The event was held in order to sensitise all stakeholders on tobacco control measures in Goa to prevent tobacco addiction among teenagers and youth.
A key highlight of the function was the release of the survey report titled 'Big Tobacco Tiny Targets' and vendor licensing laws on Tobacco control.
The program was inaugurated by Ravi Dhawan, Secretary, Health and Dr. Tarik Thomas, Secretary, Urban Development.
Dr. Shekhar Salkar, President, NOTE India, Ashim Sanyal, Chief Operating Officer, Voice, New Delhi, Adv. Amarjeet Singh, Project Head, Voice, New Delhi, Dr. Rupa Naik, CMO, NCDC-Directorate of Health Services (DHS), Goa, Kirit Maganlal, CEO, Magsons retail chain and Manish Trivedi, Head, Manipal Hospital, Goa were also present at the event.
Ravi Dhawan expressed that the Government of Goa is very proactive in ensuring appropriate steps to tackle the menace of tobacco and is committed to reforms and regulations especially to curtail the use of tobacco products in children. He categorically opined that there shall be zero tolerance in the enforcement of tobacco control laws.
Dr. Tarik Thomas opined that the government is keen on saving precious lives, especially the younger generation from ill effects of tobacco and is in consultation with stakeholders to expedite the implementation of vendor licensing laws.
Dr. Shekhar Salkar, National President, NOTE India oriented all members on the E-Cigarette and how it was equally harmful and yet becoming a trend in young adults even after being banned by law of the land.
He also expressed that, "NOTE is willing to undertake various awareness campaigns and activities to ensure anti-tobacco reforms. NOTE has recently handed over a proposal to implement, monitor and ensure compliance of "tobacco-free education institute programs " (TOFEI) of the central government and will be starting tobacco cessation clinics, both projects shall be implemented soon in consultation with the state government."
Ashim Sanyal presented the 'Big Tobacco Tiny Targets' study and pointed that a total of 97 points of sale were identified selling tobacco products within 100 yards of educational institutes in Goa.
He urged the Government to strengthen enforcement of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COPTA) 2003 to protect children & youth from falling prey to the tactics of tobacco companies.
Tobacco vendor licensing is beneficial in tobacco control, especially in the current pandemic, Sanyal said.
Amarjeet Singh presented about tobacco control and vendor licensing laws under COTPA 2003. He stressed that it's critical to make sure that laws and penalty provisions were strengthened to deter tobacco companies from selling and advertising their addictive products to children and youth.
Kirit Maganlal vouched for support towards the campaign and expressed that at large, the organized retail sector, especially in Goa, is committed to working within the framework of rules and regulations.
He said that most of the retail chains in Goa have self-regulation and checklists with reference to the sale of regulated products such as tobacco.
Dr. Rupa Naik informed all the participants that various awareness campaigns and activities are undertaken by the DHS under the National Tobacco Control Program, and expressed the need to make the anti-tobacco movement strong by using all means and measures.
Around 40 Participants of the workshop included officials from DHS, Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), South and North collectorate, Goa Police, Municipal administration and Directorate of Panchayat. (ANI)