Patna: After alcohol ban, the government is pulling its socks up to crack down on illegal tobacco shops mushrooming in the state.
At a workshop held here on Thursday, the state health brass announced a series of measures to rein in the tobacco traders. Executive director of State Health Society, Bihar, Jitendra Shrivastava admitted that despite the ban, smokeless tobacco products are being openly sold across the state. He said the food safety officers have been given a specific target of 10 raids per month on tobacco shops which sell smokeless tobacco products in violation of the ban order. “Action would be taken against anyone found guilty of not complying with the order,” Shrivastava said.
He said the government is also planning to use the 38 alcohol de-addiction centres for tobacco cessation as well. “The modalities are being worked out. Anti-tobacco activists have hailed the move as they have been demanding setting up of such cessation centres for long,” he added.
Shrivastava said all the cinema halls in the state would be instructed to play a five-minute movie on harmful effects of tobacco before screening of every movie show.
He added that all the district magistrates have been asked to ensure implementation of the Supreme Court’s directive that 85% of space on cigarette packs and other tobacco products is covered with warnings.
Deepak Mishra, executive director of SEEDS, which jointly organised the workshop with the health department and IPRD, said, “The percentage of population consuming tobacco is much more than that of alcohol in Bihar. More than 50,000 people die of cancer every year in Bihar mainly due to tobacco consumption,” he said.