CHENNAI: As many as 100 educational institutions in Chennai and adjoining districts have been identified as tobacco free educational institutions on Tuesday. Health Minister Ma Subramanian presented the certificates for adhering to no tobacco status within 100 metres radius of the school on account of World No Tobacco Day on Tuesday.
As per the instructions of the Union Government, the State Health Department is banning the sale of tobacco near all schools and colleges in Tamil Nadu and establishing non-tobacco educational institutions. So far, 13,080 out of a total of 54,609 schools in Tamil Nadu and 1,344 out of a total of 2,789 colleges have been declared non-tobacco educational institutions. As many as 41,529 schools and 1,445 colleges in Tamil Nadu will also be declared as non-tobacco educational institutions by 2023.
The Health Minister said that tobacco control centers have already been set up in 20 districts in Tamil Nadu, a release from the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine stated. Vellore, Dharmapuri, Salem, Erode, Perambalur, Ariyalur, Namakkal, Thoothukudi, Kanniyakumari and Tiruvallur are getting new tobacco control centers. Several districts, including Chengalpattu, the Nilgiris, Mayiladuthurai, Ramanathapuram, and Ranipet will receive Tobacco Control Centers soon.
The Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine is already setting up new District Tobacco Control Centers in Sivagangai, Thanjavur, Theni, Tenkasi and Tirupattur. In addition, 'Tobacco and Drug Awareness Programs' will be conducted in 6,000 educational institutions in 30 districts.
The senior officials from the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine say that measures are being taken in all the districts through the Deputy Director Health Services to implement the Cigarette and Tobacco Products Control Act, 2003. Tobacco control enforcement committees have been set up in villages, municipalities and corporations to monitor public spaces and levy fines. So far, a fine of Rs 4,76,28,887 has been levied on 2,56,223 offenders in the State.
The release from the department stated that right information about tobacco products should reach the younger generation and the ban on the sale of tobacco products near educational institutions is being implemented effectively.