Experts demand for a separate trade license for sale of tobacco

Bengaluru, 25 July 2018: Drug abuse is a serious public health problem that affects students and youth of our nation. Like there is a beginning for all the good things to happen in this world, same is true for bad things including drugs. Health experts across the world have found that an addictive substance such as Tobacco consumption is the Gateway to Illegal Drug Use. Earlier a person uses tobacco, more likely they are to experiment with cocaine, heroin or other illicit drugs. Each year drug abuse takes away millions of young lives due to serious illnesses and health implications.

To control sale of tobacco products which is gateway for drugs different organizations like Consortium for Tobacco Free Karnataka, Indian Medical Association (IMA), Indian Dental Association (IDA), Associated Management of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka, Association of Healthcare Providers India (AHPI) have urged the State Govt in a letter to mandate a separate trade license (Tobacco Vendor License).

In a press conference organized in city today, Shri Shashi Kumar D, General Secretary of Associated Management of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka said, “Supply, sale and consumption of illegal drugs are increasing day by day in state. Schools and colleges students are the main target of these illegal activities. Sale of tobacco near educational institutions is rampant in the state. Easy accessibility and availability of tobacco products near educational institutions is the main reason behind increasing addiction and consumption level among youth. The Union Govt has taken this seriously and had recommended for a separate license for sale of tobacco products. As per the recommendations 6 states including Rajasthan, Bihar, West Bengal, have already brought this into action. The State Govt should act at least now and make this policy considering the safety of our children.”

Addressing the press conference, renowned Cardiologist and Member of Cardiologist Association of India Dr Vijaya Lakshmi Balekundri said, “Youth are the hope of our nation. It is our duty to safe guard them from the harmful effects of addictive substances like tobacco and other illegal drugs. Initiation of tobacco usage at early ages paves way for experimentation with drugs. We are very glad that the state govt has already banned sale of loose beedi and cigarettes, but it is very saddening that this is not being implemented. In best interest of public health, the state govt should mandate a separate trade license for sale of tobacco which will ensure proper implementation of the tobacco control laws.”

Dr Uma Sheshagiri, from Indian Medical Association said, “Nicotine and other poisonous chemical present in tobacco enslaves people for addiction. Tobacco products is seen and sold uncontrolled, in and around education institutions, bus stands, restaurants, petty shops with other daily use products like groceries, chocolates etc., which misleads youth. Our organization has already written a letter to the Chief Minister in this regard demanding a separate trade license which ensures that the youth are not mislead.”

Convener for Consortium for Tobacco Free Karnataka, Mr S J Chander said, “States like Rajasthan, Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Himachal Pradesh have already shown their commitment towards public health by implementing and mandating separate vendor license for sale of tobacco. Karnataka should at least now understand the importance of this policy and show their commitment towards safeguarding the youth and children of the state.”

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