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Tobacco product manufacturers luring young women: Jharkhand Health Minister Banna Gupta

Tobacco survey reveals 5.1% of children between 13 and 15 consume tobacco

Jharkhand to act against tobacco use by minors: Banna Gupta

Ranchi, Sept.27: Craze of tobacco among the juveniles of age group 13 to 15 is less than the national average in Jharkhand and the state government is committed to take it to a negligible level in days to come.

State health minister Banna Gupta gave an indication of this while releasing Jharkhand-related data of Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) at the Institute of Public Health (IPH) at Namkum.

According to GYTS, 8.5 percent of juveniles of age group of 13 to 15 consume tobacco in different forms across the country while in Jharkhand 5.1 percent of juveniles of this group consume the same, the health minister said.

Sharing the data, the minister informed about the negative impact of the habit of consuming tobacco and steps being taken by the state government to reduce the tobacco consumption level further in the state.

“Across the country 13 lakh people die of diseases caused by the habit of tobacco consumption. The reason behind 90 percent of mouth cancer is tobacco consumption. 40 percent of people dying in India are tobacco consumers,” minister Gupta said, sharing the negative impact of tobacco consumption.

“Thus to put a check on the habit of tobacco consumption several steps are being taken. The steps include awareness campaigns, workshops, banning the sale of tobacco products and raids on shops selling tobacco without license besides taking an undertaking from the government employees to not consume tobacco at the time of their appointment either on a regular or contract basis,” the health minister said sharing the government steps.

 At least 5.1 per cent children between 13 and 15 consume tobacco in some form or the other in Jharkhand, health minister Banna Gupta said on Monday, claiming that the government was focusing on checking the use of tobacco by minors and running several campaigns to stop this practice.

In a bid to completely eradicate the use of tobacco products by minors, a bill has also been introduced in the Jharkhand Assembly to increase the minimum age for tobacco consumption or any involvement of a person in tobacco-related trade to 21 years from 18 years, the minister said.

 “Such laws will prove to be a deterrent for minors and keep them away from the deadly addiction of tobacco in Jharkhand,” said Gupta, adding that the Centre must also follow similar steps in a bid to control the use of tobacco.

Releasing Jharkhand’s data in the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) 2021 in Ranchi, Gupta claimed that many tobacco companies were gradually also trying to attract minor girls towards tobacco use, and the government was committed to prevent any rise in the number of minor girls addicted to tobacco.

 “Our government is taking all possible steps to discourage the consumption of tobacco and also come up with stricter laws for the same,” said Gupta.

In a bid to check the use of tobacco, the Jharkhand government has prohibited the sale of tobacco products within a 100-meter radius of schools, government offices, hospitals and courts. Besides, any person found selling tobacco products to minors will face imprisonment of up to seven years and pay Rs 1 lakh fine.

The percentage of children between   13 and 15 years addicted to tobacco in India was 8.5 per cent, higher than that in Jharkhand. However, as per data shared by the minister, the total percentage of the population addicted to tobacco in Jharkhand was higher than the national average.

“The percentage of tobacco users in Jharkhand has dropped from 50.1 per cent to 38.9 per cent, but it was still higher than the national average of 28.6 per cent,” said Gupta.

In a bid to discourage the use of tobacco products, the Jharkhand government has also decided to take an undertaking from newly-recruited government employees, stating that they do not consume tobacco products. Besides, the government is planning to make tobacco-use related rules for private institutions and offices too, the minister said

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