PANAJI: With an objective to control the usage of tobacco in the state by the youth and children the National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE), Goa and Delhi based Consumer VOICE on this National No Smoking Day has urged the government to implement the rules of tobacco Vendor Licensing to protect masses from tobacco products.
Section (4) of the COTPA 2003 prohibits smoking in all public places. ‘Public Place’ is defined as any place to which the public has access whether as of right or not and includes all places visited by general public namely auditorium, hospital building, railway waiting room, amusement centers, public offices, court buildings, educational institutions, libraries, coffee houses, canteens, banks, clubs and also open spaces surrounding hotels/restaurants, etc.
Vendor licensing is authorizing a business to engage in tangible retail sales of tobacco from a shop, a sidewalk stand, a pushcart, a shop, a motor vehicle. These will be registered with municipalities and adhere to COTPA Regulations.
Earlier on February 11, 2019, the Department of Urban Development of Goa issued a circular directing all urban local bodies in Goa to develop a mechanism to provide permission/authorization/ vendor licensing through ULBs (Urban local bodies) to retail shops selling tobacco products with a restriction on sale on non-tobacco products as candies, chips, soft drinks, etc.
“Vendors sell cigarettes and bidis via single sticks, making these products cheap and accessible to children and youth. Selling of such products outside of educational institutes along with toffees, chips, chocolates, biscuits etc attracts the youth to the shops with potential addiction through experiments. Vendor Licensing will surely curtail the tobacco consumption,” Ashim Sanyal, Chief Operating Officer, Consumer VOICE stated.
According to our study on tobacco vendor in Goa, tobacco vendors are violating COTPA, 2003:
• Sale of loose cigarettes is rampant 97% which frustrates the purpose of pictorial warning at package.84 % Tobacco vendors were found Selling candy, chips, etc. the products meant for and to attract children/youth to tobacco shops. Tobacco products are displayed openly amounting to advertisements and Tobacco advertisements were found at several points of sale.
Some Rules on sale of tobacco products:
• Section 6 of The Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply, and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA) bans sale of tobacco to and by minors and prohibits the sale of tobacco products within 100 yards of educational institutions.
• A MoHFW advisory in September 2017 recommended licensing of tobacco vendors through municipal authorities
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“Tobacco use imposes enormous health and economic burden on the country. Each year, over 1 million Indians die from tobacco-related diseases in India. The GATS data shows the prevalence of tobacco consumption is increase compare to GATS-I. Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2 (GATS 2) shows 10 % percent of adults in Goa consume smokeless tobacco and 4% consume in the form of smoking. Vendor licensing is needed to be implemented to keep the younger generation from the influence of tobacco products.” - Dr. Shekhar Salkar, secretary, National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication, Goa