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The Government Of Himachal Pradesh Is Committed To Regulating Tobacco Consumption In The State By All Means And It Supports COTPA 2020 Amendments: General Industry Department

The menace of tobacco consumption must be regulated and controlled at all costs and an increase in taxes will be a great step in that regard which will give the government more finances to fund the local self-government initiatives, said Babu Ram Negi, Excise Department Assistant Tax Commissioner Nurpur zone (Himachal Pradesh) in a state-level stakeholder consultation meeting held here under the auspices of the Nada India Young Network for Good Health.

The youth network had brought together multiple stakeholders to discuss different ways in which Civil Society Organisations and Government Departments can extend their support for the COTPA Amendment 2020 and the operationalisation of the State and the National Multi-sectoral Action Plan (NMAP) for the control of tobacco with a youth-driven campaign.

Addressing the gathering, former MLA and Vice President of the General Industry Department of the State Shri Manohar Dhiman said that the hill state is totally committed to the COTPA Amendments 2020 brought by the Central Government to make rules strict for tobacco sale and use in the country. He also extended support of the State in pushing for the amendments like banning Point of Sale advertisement and other things which the youths and other organisations have demanded.

The State-level Multi-Stakeholder consultation was addressed by government representatives, civil society icons, youth leaders and various NGO heads. This is part of the efforts of the Youth groups working towards tobacco control. A similar seminar will be conducted for the citizens of Haryana and Punjab in the coming days, informed renowned social activist and Nada Chairperson Suneel Vatsayan addressing the youth and officials on the occasion.

The event was attended by officials from the government departments, panchayat and civil society organisations. Youth representatives from different organisations of the state had assembled to work on a common program to ensure the safety of young lives from the menace of tobacco smoking.

The youth representatives will now spread over the state to sensitise people on the implications of the COTPA Amendments 2020 and to garner support for it from the general public.

Central Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has introduced the COTPA Amendments 2020 to make rules strict for cigarette smoking and sale. Civil society organisations have demanded some more changes in the law to make it full proof. Approximately 10 lakh people die every year from heart disease attributable to tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke.

People of Himachal Pradesh and its officials need to be congratulated for the fact that tobacco use among school-going children (13-15 years) in the country is highest in Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram and it is lowest in Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka. But is also an occasion for Himachal Pradesh to not leave its top position and take sufficient steps to protect the glory of the hill state, said Suneel Vatsayan, who is an expert in the Tobacco Control program in the country. The participants were welcomed by Mangal Singh, Himachal Pradesh State coordinator of the Nada Young India Network.


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