Jaipur: The Juvenile Justice Act is applicable on any person who offers or sells tobacco products to any minor. The provisions of this Act are now being strictly implemented in Rajasthan, with offenders facing imprisonment up to seven years and fine up to Rs 1 lakh. The Rajasthan Police, DGP, has issued a circular the Commissioner of Police of Jaipur, Jodhpur and Superintendents of Police of all districts of the state to implement the provisions of the Act. Voice of Tobacco Victims (VoTV) state patron had met the DGP in month of September in this regard.
Issuing the directives, DGP Mr.Manoj Bhatt has instructed that one police officer in each police station should be designated as a child welfare officer under section 107(1). The Act had been amended to include these provisions on January 15, 2016. Bhatt has made special mention of section 77 of the amended Act. Under this section, if any person, other than a qualified medical practitioner, gives tobacco products or intoxicating beverage or any other narcotic or alcoholic products, he or she will be liable for imprisonment up to seven years and fine up to Rs 1 lakh. Bhatt has pointed in the circular that tobacco products have been included in it. Besides those selling tobacco products to minors, those promoting use of tobacco products by minors in any manner will also be liable to face criminal proceedings. Particular attention should be paid against such offenders within 100 yards of any educational institutions. Action should be taken against such offenders and the matter included in the Monthly Crime Review (MCR) reporting of The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA). He said that Nodal officers appointed in district headquarters & sub divisional headquarters .
Dr.Pawan Singhal, Associate Professor at SMS Hospital & State Patron of Voice of Tobacco Victims (VoTV), said the earlier Act & COTPA, was not being effective in checking tobacco use among minors as offenders selling tobacco products to minors were fined only Rs 200.
He said 27.5 crore people in India use tobacco and a major portion of them start tobacco consumption from a young age. According to a survey by Global Adult Health, addiction to tobacco use in India starts at 17 years of age.
Global Youth Health survey has revealed that 20% of children in India use tobacco. As many as 5500 children and teenagers consume tobacco every day. On an average, everyday 350 children start tobacco use in the state. 32% people in the state have tobacco addiction.
The new amendment and circular will save our future generations from the deadly addiction to tobacco products. It has already been established that every third person who dies of cancer, cardiac arrest or respiratory problems had contracted the illness due to tobacco consumption.