A sensitisation programme was held on September 29, 2023, by the Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights in collaboration with the Directorate of Education, supported by the Rotary Club of Panjim and Goa Dental College and Hospital.
The programme, attended by over 180 heads of schools and nodal teachers from Bardez and Tiswadi taluka, aimed to create awareness among the educational authorities and create a level of concern and priority to address the growing menace.
The programme was launched in the presence of Rtn Nester Sequeira, President of the Rotary Club of Panaji, and Bossuet D’Silva, Superintendent of Police, Anti Narcotic Cell.
Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use is on its way to rising to epidemic levels among high school and middle school students in Goa. Schools serve as a key environment for prevention and intervention efforts to address e-cigarette use.
“Given the growing popularity of this device, there is a need to roll out awareness campaigns about the harms of e-cigarettes and the law, ie Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Act (PECA),” said Peter F Borges, Chairperson, Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
Dr Kashyap Bandodkar, Junior Resident, GDCH, conducted the session “Epidemic of the New World: Tobacco” and Dr Akshatha Gadiyar, Assistant Professor, Dept of Public Health Dentistry, GDCH, conducted the session “E-Cigarette - An Unresolved Public Health Concern and Tobacco Counselling & Cessation”.
Goa SCPCR will strengthen the initiative with a strong social media component aimed at reaching teens, in addition to comprehensive toolkits for parents, teachers and professionals who work with children on recognising vapes, and how to talk with children about the importance of remaining tobacco and nicotine free.
Goa SCPCR raised concern about the weak implementation of PECA, leading to the easy availability of e-cigarettes through online, retail, convenience stores, and stationery shops near educational institutions in Goa.
The Commission has appealed to report the sale of e-cigarettes on the e-commerce site on the Health Ministry’s online portal - https://violation-reporting.in/ which facilitates reporting of violations under the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Act (PECA).