98.28% of Haryana Outlets Displayed Cigarettes Near Sweets And Sweets To Attract Children: Study | Chandigarh News

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CHANDIGARH: In a shocking revelation, 98.28% of outlets in Haryana displayed cigarettes near candy and sweets to attract children, a study by Delhi-based NGO Consumer VOICE found.
The report was published during a webinar organized by Consumer VOICE in collaboration with the ESM cell of Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU), Rohtak.
The Big Tobacco, Tiny Targets report found that tobacco companies would routinely target children as young as eight in Haryana by selling tobacco products and placing tobacco advertisements near shops. school premises. This occurs in blatant violation of sections 5 and 6 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act.
This study was conducted to gather more evidence on how the major loopholes in the Indian Government’s Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA 2003) that allow point-of-sale advertising and product displays are exploited by tobacco companies to target youth and children and also to determine the extent of tobacco products marketed and sold around state schools.
More than 72% of outlets around educational institutions in 25 cities had smokeless cigarettes, bidis and tobacco products near candies and sweets at children’s eye level. These sold plain cigarettes and offered free / discounted tobacco products to schoolchildren.
Dr Rita Kotwal, Deputy Director (Public Health) and Head of the National Tobacco Control Program (NTCB), Head of Nodal State, Haryana admitted this alarming fact that children are attracted to tobacco. She said, however, that elaborate steps had been taken. “Recently the government has tightened the ban on the sale of tobacco,” she said.
Ashim Sanyal, COO, VOICE made several good suggestions for strengthening tobacco control. We urge the government to strengthen oversight of COTPA 2003 in order to protect our children and youth from the prey of the tactics of the tobacco companies. Licensing tobacco vendors is also beneficial in all respects in relation to the current pandemic. Vendors can sell products legally and this can prevent children from being attracted to tobacco addiction.


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