.........BHUBANESWAR: In a bid to generate mass awareness on ill-effects of tobacco products, the State Government has decided to observe No Tobacco Week from May 31.
Chairing a high level meeting at the Secretariat here on Friday, Health and Family Welfare Minister Pratap Jena has directed officials to conduct a week-long awareness campaign throughout the State.
Stressing on the implementation of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003, he has instructed officials to intensify raids and arrest the violators.
The Sunday street event 'Patha Utsav' will be observed as 'No tobacco Day' on June 4 in the State Capital. While it has been decided to start awareness campaigns from the school level, officials have been asked to continue such activities throughout the year.
''Though police and food safety officers have been conducting raids to put a check on sale and manufacturing of tobacco products, Excise officials will also be entrusted with powers to deal with offenders,'' Jena said.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), tobacco kills half of its users, with nearly 10 lakh deaths in the country every year.
The COTPA Act states that a person, who manufactures tobacco products, shall be punished with up to five years in imprisonment or with fine up to `10,000 if he/she fails to adhere to the norm related to warnings on packages.
As per section 4 of the Act, smoking in public places, selling tobacco products to minors or selling tobacco products within a radius of 100 metres from any educational institution will attract a fine of `200.