‘Need to extend NTCP to all districts’
Srinagar, July 19: While the State is facing difficulties in the implementation of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COPTA) Act to curb tobacco menace, the Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education Atal Dulloo today said that it was all due to the lack of synergy and training among enforcement agencies on the ground.
Dulloo was addressing a gathering of health officials and other stakeholders during a one a day State Level Inception Cum Sensitization Workshop organized by Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir (DHSK) under National Tobacco Control Programme (NCTP) here.
He said that while the implementation of the legislation was inevitable, however, the process is delayed due to the fact that there are so many enforcement agencies on the ground, and that they lack in all over training.
“While we have a law in place, there is a need to implement in letter and spirit; the enforcement is the key, but what holds it back from the effective implementation is that they (enforcement agencies) lack coordination, as there are many of them,” he said.
While he talked in detail about the law that curbs the spread of tobacco menace, Dulloo said that the stakeholders will have to think that whether the fine that is being imposed will really act as a deterrent and stop the violators from not doing it again.
He pitched for the overall and best training for the agencies that are on the ground with regard to the implementation of the law, while also saying that it was not enough that the state has managed to record a decrease of 2 per cent in tobacco use in the last 6 years.
While the NTCP Programme is currently functional in only three districts of the state-Jammu, Budgam, and Leh-Dullo, along with other experts pitched that the programme must be extended to the other districts of the state as well.
Giving a detailed insight regarding the tobacco use in the state, Ashish Kumar Pandey, Senior Technical Advisor, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Cancer said that the effects of second-hand smoking were higher in J&K, while it was lower in the effects of chewing tobacco in comparison to the rest of the country.
Dr Rehana Kausar, In-charge NTCP Cell also gave a detailed presentation regarding the work that the Cell has been doing since its inception in the year 2016. Those present on the occasion include Director Health Services, Dr Kunzes Dolma, Commissioner Food Safety, Vinod Sharma along with the officials concerned.