States join hands to stop tobacco industry meddling in policy

Wednesday, Sep 23, 2015,19:41 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Chandigarh | Pitching for enactment of stringent laws to check tobacco abuse in people’s interest, seven states and a union territory today joined hands to stop interference of tobacco industry in formulation and implementation of public health policies. Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Sikkim, Karnataka, Bihar, Kerala and Chandigarh joined forces for the special purpose at a ‘Roundtable consultation on Stopping Tobacco Industry Interference in Tobacco control’ for policy makers, programme managers and tobacco control experts here.
The two-day consultation was attended by health ministers or officials of the seven states and Chandigarh, an official spokesman said here. Dr Rana J Singh, Technical Advisor with the Union government, said that the objectives of this consultation are to understand the ways of tobacco industry’s interference in tobacco control programme and to formulate a comprehensive policy.
Karnataka health minister U T Khader said, in his state tobacco control programme is being monitored by Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary Health through review of monthly reports submitted by district administration. Further, Karnataka has created a web-based real time reporting system, he said. To deal with the livelihood challenge of tobacco producers, the state health department is working with department of horticulture, agriculture and welfare board to decide the annual tobacco production volume, he said.
The state is also taking steps for prohibition of hookah bars in Karnataka, he added. Himachal Pradesh health minister Kaul Singh Thakur said that his state has proposed to ban sale of loose cigarette and to enforce licensing provisions for sale of any tobacco product in the state. He reiterated the need of coordinated efforts of neighbouring states for uniform tax policy for tobacco products.
Punjab Health Minister Surjeet Kumar Jiyani said that his government had been implementing the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act in letter and spirit.