Guwahati, July 29, 2019
A flagrant violation of laws banning the sale of tobacco products near educational institutions reported an increasing trend in the Guwahati city. This was found in a recent survey carried out by the students of 4th and 6th Semester BA.LLB (H) Centre for Juridical Studies, Dibrugarh University under the guidance of Consumer Legal Protection Forum, Assam.
The survey which had covered 36 wards and 233 educational institutions found that each institute has at least one tobacco selling vendor selling both smoking and non-smoking tobacco products and was observed that there was a blatant violation of laws of sale of the products increasing from approximately 64 per cent to 85.4 per cent.
In the survey, it was found that 48.93 per cent vendors were advertising the products through various means and 3.75 per cent vendors were promoting the same.
The forum after scrutinizing the details of the survey found that 85.4 per cent vendors were selling candies and chips along with tobacco products.
In the survey, the forum also found the age group of the vendors – 9.44 per cent vendors were found to be between the age group of 18-25 years and a soaring 87.12 per cent vendors aged above 25 years whereas 0.46 per cent of vendors aged below 18 years.
“These are in direct violation of Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) 2003 which states that no person shall offer for sale, or permit the sale of, cigarette or any other tobacco products to any person who is less than 18 years of age and in an area within a radius of one hundred yards of any educational institutions,” a statement issued by the forum read.
During the latest findings of the sample survey conducted in the capital town this year, it is found that only 31.33 per cent of vendors displays pictorial health warning signs, despite warning signs being made mandatory.
“Tobacco vendor licensing policy is an effective tool to fight such activities. Union Ministry of Health and Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation also issued advisories to Assam Government to develop a mechanism for tobacco vendors licensing and restrict the sale of candy, chips etc to attract children towards tobacco shops,” the statement read.