The Patna District Tobacco Control Cell has in association with non-government organ-isation (NGO) Population Ser-vices International has launched an initiative to make the city free of tobacco.
As part of the initiative, boards will be put up on all betel shops in the city with messages like "Tobacco is injurious for health" or "Anybody below 18 years of age shall not be permitted to consume tobacco".
"Section 4 of the Indian Tobacco Control Act, 2003, talks about 'challan mechanism'' a process to impose fine on consuming tobacco. According to the act, all shops selling tobacco, educational institutions and hotels need to put up hoardings with messages like "No smoking. In Bihar, the 'challan mechanism' was started in Patna last year but no decision was taken regarding putting such boards in public places. However, the implementation of this clause could be seen to some extent in states like Rajasthan. We may be late in implementing this. But we hope that very soon we would see the positive results of the initiative," said Dr Rajneesh Choudhary, the district nodal officer of the National Tobacco Control Programme.
Vishnu Shah, the state co-ordinator of Tobacco Control, Population Services International, around 250 hoardings have so far been installed at shops in Patna. "Our next stop is Munger before we roll out the programme in all 38 districts of Bihar," he added.