A one day training for Law Enforcers on Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 (COTPA) was held today at Sangai Hotel, Nagamapal, Imphal. The training programme was organised by National Health Mission, Manipur.

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Interacting with media persons, Shri Somorjit Ningombam, State Nodal Officer, National Tobacco Control Programme (NTPC), said that Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 (COTPA), was enacted by the Government of India to protect people from the dangerous health effects of Tobacco. COTPA, 2003 prohibits smoking in public places, advertisements of cigarettes and other tobacco products, selling of tobacco products to a person under 18 years and in educational institution areas and selling of cigarettes and other tobacco products without specified health warnings. Violation of COTPA is liable for penalties. To facilitate effective implementation of the tobacco control law, the National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) was launched in the year 2007-08 but was enacted in 2010 in Manipur.

He said that the main focus of the control programme is to reduce secondhand tobacco smoke, which remains a serious public health challenge and help the tobacco users to quit smoking and using tobacco products. For effective implementation of the programme, a State Level Coordination Committee has been formed with Chief Secretary as Chairman in July 2017-18 to reduce the menace of tobacco in the State. Enforcement staffs are formed at State, District and Block level. The enforcement staffs will be lead by CMO and SDO at district level and at block level respectively. The programme is yet to get its momentum as enforcement of the Act requires intersectorial Departmental coordination.

The training for the law enforcers is an initial step in banning of tobacco related products in the state since its inception. The trained enforcement squads will look into areas where tobaccos are sold and steps will be taken up to create awareness about the COTPA provisions. Specified signage will be put up at public places, health institutes, educational institutes etc. to make the programme a success. NTCP cell will work with the NGO partners to create awareness among the people. He also added that people who want to quit smoking can contact the State Tobacco Control Cell at RIMS. The state cell will be organising a cycle rally in connection with the observance of World No Tobacco Day on May 31, 2018, he said.

Facilitators delivered lecture on ‘Burden of Tobacco’ and ‘An overview of National Tobacco Control Program (NTCP) and National Tobacco Control Legislation’. The training programme was attended by officials of Health Department, Police Department, State and District level Anti-tobacco squad team.

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