India’s population is 135.26 crores as per the 2018 survey. It is the second-largest populated country in the world. According to the CIA world factbook India’s death rate is 7 per 1000. Every year around 8.5 million people die which is approximately 22,500 per day. Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable premature deaths across the globe. The intake of tobacco kills more than 10 million each year. Smoking causes 11% of the death. Around 27.4% of male youth consume smoke and 8.3% of female youth as per the fact sheet of India 2009-10 released by the Ministry of health and family welfare, Government of India.
There are over 625,000 Indian children (pdf) aged between 10 and 14 years who smoke cigarettes every day, according to the latest edition of The Tobacco Atlas (pdf), published earlier this month. Youth are going to be future honchos of the country and they will bestow a lot in nation-building. But exposing themselves towards the smoking tobacco environment is shattering their youngish prolific psyches. This article has focused upon how the prohibition of smoking in public areas law deals with an educational institution and its loopholes and why there is an urge to bring amendments in this law.
Evolution of the Prohibition of Smoking in Public Area law in Educational Institution
Section 4 of The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 or COTPA, 2003 deals with the Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places, which was enacted by the Parliament of India to protect non-smokers from the expose of tobacco smoke.
As per the provision’s Section 6 (a) and (b) of COTPA act tobacco products cannot be sold to the person below the age of 18 years, and in places within 100 yards radius from the outer boundary of an institution of education, which includes school colleges and institutions of higher learning established or recognized by an appropriate authority. The law is just and fair but its implementation is weak.
Increase in Health Issues Among The Second-Hand Smokers
There is no selling of tobacco within a 100-yard radius from the outer boundary of an educational institution as per the provisions but students smoking inside the boundary of the campuses affect the health of the second-hand smokers. Round the clock these students consume tobacco and smoke. There are no-strict policies and rules to control this. The ones who are consuming it have made their lives precarious and along with them they have also involved the ones who are second smokers.
This problem is persisting because laws have been implemented but there are no actions on it. The college authorities will not do anything in this connection. There isn’t even a single poster on the campus informing students about the harmful effects of tobacco consumption. They first need to run an awareness campaign in this connection. This is from the report of the college from the city named Barely. Young minds are smart but they lack judgment skills. They get easily enslaved with the recent trends of drinking, smoking, etc. Mere awareness would not be enough; they must be acknowledged with the practical aspect of their actions and habits.
Their active cells become weak due to smoking. There is no risk-free level of second-hand smoke exposure; even brief exposure can be harmful to health. They get exposed to various diseases and mostly lung infection.
Not Earning but Still Spending for Their Luxuries
Smoking is luxurious as per current mania, but the college students exploit the petty cash given to them in comforting their habit. The universities having hostel campuses are the hotspot of smoking tobacco. Considering the provisions of the COTPA act there will be no selling of tobacco products within 100 yards of the university but certainly there is no inspection inside the campus and the hostel. There are no such shops around the universities but still these students flourish in compassing their urge for tobacco.
The application of this law fails, although it is their private matter with whatever they do inside the four walls of their rooms but it affects the second-hand smokers and it is the responsibility of the hostel in charge to look over the matters inside the hostel. There is no violation of their Right to Life and Personal Liberty because they are violating the rules of their hostel and harming their health along with the second-hand smokers. They have to live their life with dignity. By indulging in these activities, they are harming their health and immune systems. It is to be done for the public good. It gives a high level of nicotine to the brain and is very grievous for the blood of the human being.
Cigarettes are sold at very economical rates and it requires very low purchasing capacity and as per Section 6(a) of the COTPA act person below 18 years cannot be sold tobacco but it becomes very difficult to identify the age of the person as a person of age 16 and above 18 looks similar and differentiation becomes difficult.
The tobacco industry has been boomed because of the contribution made by the minors and youth are the prey for their money-making. ITC Ltd—part-owned by British American Tobacco— dominates the cigarette market in India with 77% of the total sales by volume.
Implementation of the Law
The concern behind the formation of the law was the protection of second-hand smokers from the contaminated air with smoke and it is not possible to desist them from smoking, therefore it has issued the warning on its packaging that smoking is injurious for health and it may cause cancer. It has been done in the public interest and for the welfare of the public.
Educational Institutions come under public places and the provision made related to the prohibition of smoking in schools and colleges is made for the prosperity and the well-being of the students. But the implementation of the law is weak and there is a recent increase in in-campus smoking. No authorities are there to scan the conduct of students.
These institutions are the temple of worship for the students to acquire knowledge and skills so that they can attain success and lead a happy life in the future. The responsibility of the education centers is not only to give knowledge but also to make them aware and cautious about the surroundings in which they are living.
There are no strict-action performances and even if the authorities come up with the case related to this no responsive attitude is shown as their primary concern is to complete their courses and promotions. Lacking in strictness affects the health of the students badly and this recklessness is carried forward.
Urge for the amendment in the provision
Amendment is required in Section 6 (a) and (b) of the COTPA act with an increase in the age limit of the person to sell the tobacco and it can be raised to 24 years. Selling of tobacco cannot be banned as it will collapse the tobacco industry and lead to unemployment but before selling the cigarettes, the shopkeeper must be able to inspect the age of the purchaser and if the shopkeeper is found selling it to the person of less than 24 years of age then he must be punished. There must be no-chance of giving benefit of doubt to the purchaser. Identity cards must be shown before purchasing the tobacco for the verification of the age. The government has to take rigorous action for the protection of the youth of the country.
Promotion of smoke-free educational institutions to be made mandatory and proper warnings and awareness to be spread among the students. Banners must be laid in the entire campus regarding the consequences of their smoking, workshops must be conducted for teaching them skills and how to reduce their addiction if they are indulged in this. Counselors must tell them the psychological impact of their actions and outcomes.
The government must issue the guidelines about the regulations to be maintained by the smoke-free college and each college must register themselves as the smoke-free university. One of the government officials must be made in-charge of managing these activities inside the campus and regulating the rules and auditing that the rules are not violated by anyone. Teachers and university staff should cooperate with the government guidelines and the government should also make the norms for the faculty and staff.
The severe the laws will be the less the penalty will be. Youth is the future of our country and it’s the obligation of the government to shield them. Smoking is converting into sensation and becoming an addiction. Habits are good and bad and this one will probably lead to the worst and it has to be changed. Young people get easily provoked to these trends and pursue them without acknowledging right or wrong. Therefore, they are the target audience as they are responsive and give the expected results. There is a need to spread awareness and give them practical training so that they can become mentally and emotionally fit, the process of passing through the developing stage must be smooth and effective. Amendment is required and its effectiveness must be smooth.
” Youth is the spring age of one’s life and it must be celebrated but not by destroying your health system”.
 Smoking causes over 11% deaths; India among the top 4 countries: Report @business line (2018), https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/science/smoking-causes-over-11-deaths-india-among-top-4-countries-report/article9618981.ece
 Maria Thomas, Over half a million children in India are smoking cigarettes everyday Quartz India (2018), https://qz.com/india/1232112/indias-cigarette-smoking-epidemic-includes-over-600000-addicted-children/
 2015 Priyangi Agarwal | TNN | May 19, ‘Not possible to find students smoking on college campus’: Bareilly News – Times of India The Times of India, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bareilly/Not-possible-to-fine-students-smoking-on-college-campus/articleshow/47347866.cms
 Secondhand Smoke (SHS) Facts, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2018), https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/secondhand_smoke/general_facts/index.htm
 Article 21, The Indian Constitution, 1949
 The Toll of Tobacco in India, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (2019), https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/problem/toll-global/asia/india (last visited May 18, 2020).
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