City tourism players sensitized on Tobacco Laws

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Srinagar: With an aim to aware the various stake holders in tourism industry about the ill effects of tobacco use in the state, Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) in collaboration with J&K Voluntary Health Association organized a sensitization workshop on COTPA in Srinagar.
“The main objective of the workshop was to sensitize the officials on COTPA Act in hospitality sector with focus being on getting ‘No Smoking’ signage’s and stickers displayed in premises of hotels, restaurants, houseboats, shikaras, vehicles and strict challaning system and regularizing of COTPA as one of the main agenda in review meetings of the tourism department,” a VHAI statement issued here said.
The workshop was attended by officers from J&K Tourism Development Corporation Limited (JKTDC), Kashmir Houseboat Owners Association (KHOA), All J&K Taxi Shikara Owners Association (JKTSOA) and Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Association (KHARA), the statement added.
Pertinently, various stake holders in the tourism industry earlier issued instructions to all its authorized officials to implement Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce Production, Supply and Distribution) Act (COTPA) in the hospitality sector and to strictly enforce anti-tobacco laws in hotels, guest houses, restaurants, dhabas, houseboats and shikaras operating in the state.
“We took this initiative of banning smoking completely in all public places that come under Tourism department. We will be regularly reviving COTPA compliances and see to it that the state becomes a safe destination as far as smoking is concerned,” said Farooq Ahmed Shah, Secretary, Tourism Department, Government of J&K.
Pertinently, the Managers of the hotels, guest houses, restaurants, dhabas, houseboats and shikaras were authorized under COTPA to fine smokers in public conveyances. Violations can attract a fine of up to Rs 200. ‘No Smoking’ signage of 60x30cm have to be displayed in all public vehicles at a prominent place, as mandated by section-4 of the Act. Similarly, directions were issued to ensure that there are no direct and indirect advertisements, sponsorship of tobacco products, as mandated by sec-5 of COTPA.
The Managers were also directed to take necessary action against the violators as per the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Product Act (COTPA), 2003.
Interestingly, 26.6% population in Jammu & Kashmir is using tobacco product in one or the other of its form. Jammu & Kashmir has 12% cigarette smokers, 3.8% bidi smokers and 8.0% smokeless tobacco users. J&K’s cigarette use prevalence (12%) is almost double the nationwide prevalence of 5.7%. It has come to light that the highest proportion of adults (67.9%) exposed to tobacco smoke in offices are in J&K and the lowest (15.4%) are in Chandigarh.

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