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‘Beedi’ Baron Gupta Absent at Meeting of Parliamentary Panel on Tobacco

'Beedi' Baron Gupta

‘Beedi’ baron Shyama Charan Gupta, whose membership of a parliamentary committee on tobacco has kicked up a row over conflict of interest, was not present at a meeting of the panel today during which members raised concerns over the issue. Although there was no official word on what transpired in the meeting of the Committee of Subordinate Legislation, it is understood that the contentious issue of increasing the size of pictorial warnings on tobacco products was among the things discussed.

The committee has already recommended to the government to hold its proposal to increase the size of pictorial warnings on tobacco products from its present 40 per cent to 85 per cent. One of the senior members of the panel, Congress MP S P Muddahanumegowda said having conflict of interest and attending the meeting “reflect” on the proceedings and also make people suspect “bona fide” of other members.

“If I were to be in his (Gupta) position having conflict of interest, I would not have attended the meeting or resigned from that committee. Because conflict of interest and attending the meeting, it reflects on the proceedings of the meeting and also makes the people to suspect the bona fide of other members also.

“Whatever decision we take, that will not be free from any bias. The people will suspect that. We may not be influenced by any such request or pressure, but it gives room for others to think like that. We talk much about ethics. According to me, the ethics demand we should refrain ourselves from attending any proceedings where you have got selfish interest,” the MP said.

Gupta’s presence in the committee was criticised by the Opposition parties which sought his removal from the panel, saying there was a clear “conflict of interest”. Asserting that he has not received any instructions to step down from the panel from his party, Gupta, however, said he was ready to accept it if it came through.

Gupta had made controversial remarks that beedis have “nil” harmful effect and also suggested that the government should make a distinction between smoked and chewed tobacco as he believes that the former was not as harmful. It a well known fact that Indians smoke cheapest cigarettes such as Astra http://www.cigarettesplace.net/astra

“I can produce a lot of people in front of you who are chain smokers of beedi and till date they have had no disease, no cancer… You get diabetes due to eating sugar, rice, potatoes. Why don’t you write warnings for all these things as well,” Gupta had questioned.

Significantly, his remarks were made barely days after the panel head Dilip Gandhi’s statement that there was no Indian study to confirm that tobacco use leads to cancer, leaving the government embarrassed and rival parties and the medical fraternity gunning for him. The government has said it will take a “measured and responsible” decision on the issue of increasing the size of pictorial warnings on tobacco.

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2015 in Tobacco Facts

 

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Only 6 out of 21 states didn’t violate anti-tobacco ad laws in 2012-13

Andhra Pradesh led in the number of violations of the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA) with prosecution of 71,705 persons and collection of Rs 52,83,948 as fine between April 2012 and September last year. Parliament was informed by Health Minister Harshvardhan that the enforcement of COTPA is the responsibility of the states.

Of the 21 states for which data was available, six had not reported any cases during this period. Only four states exceeded the prosecution/challan of more than 10,000 persons. In Tamil Nadu, a total of 26,081 persons were prosecuted and a sum of Rs 27,73,750 was collected as fine. Karnataka had 19,030 prosecutions resulting in collection of Rs 19, 58,724 as fine, while Rajasthan had 12,891 prosecutions and Rs 13,51,314 as fine.

COTPA Amendment Rules 2011 were notified in August 2011. These rules mandate prohibition of sale of tobacco products to and by persons below the age of eighteen years and recovery of fine thereon by the authorised officers. The then health secretary in August last year had written to all the chief secretaries and director generals of police in states/union territories for implementing the rules related to regulation of advertisements at points of sale.

Based upon the request of Health & Family Welfare Ministry, the then home secretary in May this year sent an advisory to the director generals of police in states /union territories to incorporate COTPA as one of the agenda items in the monthly crime review meetings at the district level. In June this year, then Health Ministry additional secretary wrote to all the chief secretaries and administrators in states /union territories to make compliance to COTPA a necessary condition in the licenses being issued to eating house and restaurants.

Meanwhile, the Health Minister said in reply to another question that multimedia campaigns are implemented for behaviour change on mass media supported by outdoor media such as hoardings, bus panels, information kiosks, folk performances and exhibition vans for creating awareness and demand generation at service centres/facilities across the country among general population on services being provided to prevent AIDS.

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Posted by on August 5, 2014 in Tobacco News

 

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No sale of tobacco in Delhi on last day of every month

Delhi government plans a ‘dry day’ for smokers. There will be no sale of tobacco or related products on the last day of every month.

This is being projected as a drive against tobacco use, and a campaign to generate awareness about tobacco’s harmful effects. The government has also decided to take up the issue of enhancing tobacco taxes with the state-empowered committee, an official said, adding that the decision was taken in a meeting of the state-level coordination committee for tobacco control headed by chief secretary S K Srivastava.

“This concept started in 2013 when we asked vendors not to sell tobacco and related products on the last day of every month as a voluntary effort,” said Dr N V Kamat, director, health services. He hoped that this way, Delhi will be a tobacco-free state.

Tobacco consumption is increasing at an alarming rate in Delhi. As per the Global Adults Tobacco Survey 2010, about 40.9% men and 3.7% women use any form of tobacco products in the city. About 30% men were found to be smokers as compared to 1.1% women. The average age of initiation of tobacco use was found to be 19 years and three months.

Srivastava has ordered for strict implementation of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003, and to curb the growth of hookah bars and sale of tobacco.

On Friday, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan will flag off a rally of 200 schoolchildren from Nirman Bhavan to commemorate ‘World No Tobacco Day’, which is on May 31.
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Posted by on June 3, 2014 in Tobacco News

 

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Smoking in a public place? Your pic may appear on FB

Police commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar has appealed to the public to upload photos of smokers on the Bangalore city police Facebook page for immediate action. The public can also call 100 and inform them about smokers in public places, so that the nearest patrol police can reach the spot and nab them. The identity of the informant would be kept confidential.

The measures are part of an intensified drive against smoking in public places under the Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products (prohibition of advertisement and regulation of trade of commerce, production, supply and distribution) Act (COTPA), 2003.

Auradkar told Bangalore Mirror, “We have started looking for those who smoke cheapest cigarettes in public places and booking cases against such smokers under the COPTA Act.”

Smoking in public places like bus stands, railway station, metro, malls and eateries causes inconvenience to the public, he pointed out. “It leads to passive smoking. Young girls and women will suffer because of the smokers. Sometimes women have to walk away from those places because of these mischievous smokers,” he contended.

A senior officer said, the plan of appealing to people to upload the photos in Facebook will work because many youths smoke without the knowledge of their parents, family members and relatives.

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Tobacco Articles

 

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