Forum seeks ban on tobacco

The State Consumers’ Legal Protection Forum urged the Assam government on Saturday to prohibit the use and spitting of chewing smokeless tobacco products in public to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

The forum submitted letters to chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and chief secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna.

Citing a letter from the Union ministry of health and family welfare (tobacco control division) under secretary, Pradip Kumar Pal, to the chief secretaries of all states/Union territories on April 10, forum secretary advocate Ajoy Hazarika said the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and department of health research has issued an appeal to the people not to consume and spit smokeless tobacco in public places.

According to a WHO advisory, “Chewing smokeless tobacco (khaini, zarda, gutka, pan and pan masala with tobacco) and areca nut (supari) increase saliva production and enhances the urge to spit repeatedly. Spitting in public places could increase the spread of Covid-19.”

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