The Nagaland government enforced the COPTA Act, 2003, banning the sale and use of tobacco in any form in medical establishments across the state from February 1.
A notification to this effect was issued on January 25 by the commissioner and secretary of the state health department, Y Kikheto Sema. Sections 4 & 6 (b) of Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and commerce) Act (COTPA) 2003 prohibit smoking in public places and the sale of tobacco products within 100 meters of any educational institution, he said.
Sema said all the health centres come under the purview of public places and also all health centres are considered as the centers of learning, and come under the purview of the educational department.
Maintaining that contravention of the provision of the Act by any person is punishable by law, he said that in exercise of the power conferred by COTPA 2003 and also considering the ever-increasing disease burden attributed to tobacco use, the state government declared all district hospitals, community health centres, primary health centres, sub-centres, chief medical officers' offices, medical superintendent offices, Naga Hospital Authority in Kohima and Directorate of Health and Family Welfare as tobacco-free zones.
He also declared that henceforth smoking, use of tobacco products within the hospital premises and sale of tobacco products within 100 metres of any hospital is prohibited with effect from February 1.
The principal director, all heads of offices in-charge of hospitals, CMOs, MS and nursing-in-charge are authorised to take action against anybody who contravenes the provision of Section 4 and 6 (b) of COTPA 2003 within their jurisdiction, he notified. He said that research by various institutions of the country have said that cases of cancer in Nagaland are high mainly because of tobacco consumption.
Meanwhile, as the commissioner & secretary of the health department, Sema also directed all the staffers of the department to avoid the use of tobacco in office and health centers during work hours. Appropriate action will be initiated against defaulters as per the law, he cautioned.
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