Delhi MLAs hit roads under the scorching heat not to put forward any demands or to protest but for an innovative and different cause. They came on roads to show their commitment to tobacco control. In a first of its kind initiative taken in the country, APPMLAs, Sambandh Health Foundation (SHF), Max India Foundation and Delhi Police did a joint campaign under The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003(COTPA).
MLAs of West District in Delhi told tobacco users about the harmful effects of it and requested to quit its use, while Police was penalizing the violators under COTPA Enforcement Drive.
MLAs of West District including Jarnail Singh from Tilak Nagar assembly constituency, Rajesh Rishi from Janakpuri assembly constituency, Mahendra Yadav from Vikaspuri constituency and Jagdeep Singh from Hari Nagar assembly constituency took part in the campaign. They appealed the violators to comply with the provisions of 'COTPA' by offering them a rose stick along with a booklet on COTPA. Adarsh Shastri, MLA Dwarka, Naresh Yadav, MLA Mahroli, Vijendra Garg, MLA Rajendra Nagar also supported this campaign.
COTPA enforcement drive by Delhi police in West district took place on the directions of Deputy Commissioner of Police Vijay Kumar and action was taken against people smoking in public places and tobacco being sold within 100 yards of school premises.
COTPA prohibits smoking in public places, direct/indirect advertising & promotion, sale to/by minors and sale within 100 yards of schools. According to DCP Vijay Kumar, more than 2500 persons have been fined under COTPA in West district in last six months. He also told that during last one year Delhi Police had challaned 40,000 violators under COTPA Act.
MLA from Tilak Nagar assembly constituency Jarnail Singh said, "Youth involved in tobacco usage leads them into high incidence of cancer and many other serious diseases. We should make all efforts to keep the youth away from tobacco addiction and also protect non-smokers from passive smoking.”
Similarly, Rajesh Rishi from Janakpuri constituency said, “Smokers not only harm themselves but also adversely affect people around them through passive smoking. Personal choices can’t be justified at the cost of the health of others. That’s why we are appealing the smokers to quit or at least follow the law by not smoking in public places.”
“Protecting our young generation from tobacco is very crucial if we wish our children to be healthy and happy,” said MLA Mahendra Yadav, while MLA Jagdeep Singh said, “Vendors should not be selling tobacco products to minors and if they do, they must be penalized as prescribed under the law.”
Mohini Daljeet Singh, CEO, Max India Foundation supporting the campaign said, “As per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2016-17, more than 30 lakh people in Delhi use tobacco in the form of smoking and chewing. More than 10,000 users die annually due to diseases attributed to tobacco, where 81 children initiate tobacco use in Delhi everyday.”
Sambandh Health Foundation (SHF) Trustee Sanjay Seth said, “It’s a great initiative by Public Representatives of West district for a social cause which is one of its kind in India to protect our young generations. Delhi Police on COTPA enforcement is also doing a commendable job. All these collaborative efforts will lead towards a positive social behaviour.”