According to a recent survey, over 80 per cent of respondents believe cigarettes, bidis, smokeless tobacco use is a very serious problem and 88 per cent support strengthening of the current tobacco control law to address this menace.
Eighty per cent or more support banning smoking in all public places, eliminating special smoking areas in airports, hotels, and restaurants, banning sale of loose cigarettes and bidis and advertising of tobacco products at selling points.
The phone survey was conducted by Consumer VOICE, a not-for-profit organisation that advises the government on prominent people-related issues, in 10 states covering a sample pool of 1,476 adults. Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) and random digit dial (RDD) selection methodology was used to conduct these in-depth interviews in 10 languages (Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Oriya, Marathi, Tamil, Bengali, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada) across the country.
“It is very encouraging to see the overwhelming support from people for strengthening the current tobacco control law. Government of India has started the amendment process of tobacco control law COTPA 2003 which is an important step towards improving public health.
“It is looking to strengthen the provisions for prohibiting smoking in public places and a ban on point-of-sale advertising displays, besides a ban on sale of loose cigarettes and have higher penalties,” said Ashim Sanyal, Chief Operating Officer, Consumer VOICE.
Prohibiting smoking in most public places, including abolishing smoking areas in restaurants, hotels and airports, chewing tobacco ad bans and a ban on point of sale advertising displays are strongly favoured by 80 per cent or more, said Harit Chaturvedi, Chairman of Max Institute of Cancer Care.
“Increasing fines for violation of the anti-tobacco law and banning the sale of individual cigarettes and bidi also receive broad support,” Chaturvedi said.
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease and premature deaths globally and in India more than 10 lakh people are losing their life every year due to tobacco related diseases.
India has over 26 crore tobacco users, cutting across all demographics and genders. The annual economic costs from all tobacco products were estimated at Rs 177,341 crore in 2017-18 amounting to 1 per cent of India’s GDP (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India). —PTI