Despite the ban on advertising of tobacco products in our country, 76 per cent of school-college students are forced to watch advertisements of tobacco companies. Also, to entice teenagers, these companies showcase their products specially between toffee-chocolate, etc. Experts caution that it increases the risk of addiction in adolescents.
Addressing a webinar on ‘Tobacco Freegen: Challenges and Way Ahead’ Dr. Uma Kumar, Professor at AIIMS and head of the Department of Rheumatology, said that tobacco companies that make products like cigarettes and gutka are specifically targeting teenagers.
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Citing the latest survey ‘Big Tobacco Tiny Target’ conducted in 25 cities of the country, she said that it has been found that 75.9 per cent of such shops near schools and colleges have not only advertised tobacco products but also are showcased in a place where they have high visibility. Similarly, 72.32 per cent of these shops display tobacco products near candies and sweets to lure children.
Famous cancer specialist and Regional Director, HCG Hospital, Bangalore, Dr. Vishal Rao, said that the chances of addiction in adolescence are high. So these companies are specifically targeting them.
BJP leader and senior advocate of Supreme Court Aman Sinha said that the Central Government has made a great effort to remove the deficiencies in the Tobacco Control Laws and have proposed several amendments in this regard. They would help in curbing consumption of tobacco by the youth.
Youth leader and Maharashtra BJP spokesperson Shweta Shalini said that every day five and a half thousand teenagers in the country are getting addicted to tobacco products. Amendment of the COTPA Act is very important to end the conspiracies targeting these youth. This webinar was organised by SpeakIn.
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According to a study conducted by the Ministry of Health, 14.6 per cent of adolescents between the ages of 13 and 15 in India use some form of tobacco. The ministry has made the draft amendments to the COTPA laws public recently and has sought feedback from the people.