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J&K Govt to issue fresh orders for making schools tobacco free

Old man smokes a cigarette

Srinagar: To make all educational institutions in the state tobacco-free, Jammu and Kashmir government said it would issue fresh orders to implement Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) strictly.

Delegates of Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) — anti-tobacco advocacy body — who called on State Education Minister Nayeem Akthar, said the minister had assured them all the educational institutes in the state will be made tobacco free.

“Akthar said that fresh orders will be issued directing officials of his department to comply with the COTPA Act, 2003,” VHAI said in a statement here.

“To save the youth from ill effects of tobacco and to support this genuine cause, we will be issuing relevant orders to make educational institutions tobacco free,” the anti-tobacco advocacy body quoted the minister as saying.

Akhtar said all officials will be directed to implement COTPA act seriously and ensure that a follow-up mechanism is put in place to ensure strict adherence to the Act.

The Principal Secretary for Education, has already instructed all the Chief Education Officers (CEOs) in the state to report COTPA violations on monthly basis.

As per Section 6 of the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA), there is a ban on sale of tobacco to and by minors.

It also prohibits sale of tobacco products in an area within a radius of 100 yards of any educational institutions and mandatory signage in this regard should be displayed prominently near the main gate and on the boundary wall of the school or institution.

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