Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 2:
The government of Odisha is dteremined to implement the Cigarette and Other Tobacco products Act (COTPA), 2003 strictly to make government hospitals and health care centers compeletely ‘tobacco free zones’.
Secretary of the Health department Arti Ahuja has sent a communication in this context to Chief District Medical Officers (CDMO) s of all 30 districts aksing them to enforce the Act strictly in hospital premises in their areas. The letter follows a coordination meeting chaired by chief secretary Gokul Pati where he emphasized total ban on tobacco use in hospital premises.
No one, including patients, doctors, visitors and support staff, sould be allowed to use tobacco related products such as paan, cigarettes, gutkha etc inside hospitals premises, the letter said. Besides, there would also be a complete ban on sale of tobacco related products in and around hospital premises, it said.
“Two thirds of all diseases diagnosed are caused due to tobacco usage. Almost 8,00,000 to 9,00,000 people die every year because of these diseases. Hence, it is important to take strict action to ban tobacco inside hospital premises,” Ahuja wrote in the letter.
It may be mentioned here that over 43% people of Odisha use tobacco related products in some form or the other and over 90% of them are suffering from tobacco related diseases.Before COPTA, the central government had enacted the Food Safety and Standards Act in 2006 imposing a ban on use of tobacco in public places
COTPA bans smoking and use of tobacco products in public places such as hospitals. The Act provides for fines its violation. However, no changes have been noticed on the ground owing to poor implementation of these Acts.