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Shimla declared smoke-free

Shimla today became the 11th district of the state to be declared smoke-free under Section 4 of COTPA (Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products - Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution - Act). Tribal Kinnaur district is the only one yet to become smoke-free.

Deputy Commissioner Dinesh Malhotra signed the declaration to this effect and formally declared the district smoke-free at a function organised in collaboration with the Himachal Pradesh Voluntary Health Association (HPVHA).

Malhotra said a survey was conducted as per the prescribed scientific methodology by the Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) on five indicators and the report of the agency indicated 92.17% compliance in the district, next only to Bilaspur (92.74%). The compliance was 89.64% in rural areas and 96.65% in urban areas.

Medical Superintendent, IGMC, Shimla, Ramesh said the compliance report of the survey was based on findings on active smoking in public and work places, availability of ash trays and lighters, butts of cigarettes, smell of cigarette smoking and warning signage.

Medical Officer Health, Shimla, Mahesh Jaswal said cigarette smoke contained 4,000 different toxic chemicals harmful to human health and every cigarette shortened life of a person by 11 minutes. As many as 55 lakh people in the world and 10 lakh in India died every year due to diseases caused by cigarettes. He said passive smoking was more harmful than active smoking as it affected more persons around a smoker.

Sriniwas Joshi of HPVHA said about 16% youth in the age group of 15 to 17 years and 21% in the age group 18 to 19 years were smokers in the state, underlying the need for more awareness amongst college and university students. Smoking destroyed vitamin A in the body and affected the glow and lustre of the skin, he added. 

The Tribune (17-06-2013)