A panel discussion was organised by Tobacco Free West Bengal Campaign on the importance of strict implementation of COTPA (Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act) 2003. The panel comprised of Dr.GautamMukhopadhyay, Secretary, Bengal Oncology Foundation along with Mr.Biswanath Mukherjee, Inspector-in-Charge, Swami Vivekananda Police Training Academy and also designated officials from the Health Department, Government of West Bengal.
At the end of the discussion, youth from the audience handed over a Charter of Demands to the officials from the Health and Home Departments, Government of West Bengal.
Dr. Gautam Mukhopadhyay stressed on the adverse effects of tobacco consumption. According to the latest statistics of GATS – 2 (Global Adult Tobacco Survey) 2016-17report, published by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, 56.1% people are exposed to second-hand smoking at home, 57.5% people are exposed to second-hand smoking at workplace, 14.7 % at public transportation, 5.3% at government buildings, 5.3% at healthcare facilities and 4 % at restaurants. Some health hazards occurring due to second hand smoking are aggravation of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), asthma, lung cancer and complications in pregnancy in women. The most common cause of COPD is smoking.
Smoking also causes heart diseases which surprisingly most smokers are not aware of. The chemicals of tobacco damage the blood vessels which in turn hamper heart function. If there are other health problems, for instance high blood pressure, fatty liver, cholesterol, smoking aggravates the heart problem.Secondhand smoking can also cause heart problems. Some of the health issues of young smokers are shortness of breath, low level of lung function and also the growth rate of the lung is reduced. Moreover, heart rate increases for young smokers and fitness reduces.
Mr. Indranil Dasgupta, Programme Manager, Tobacco Free West BengalCampaign stated,”It is critical that we take COTPA 2003 implementation seriously and save the citizens of the state. The youth have appealed to the Home Department and we hope there will be stricter vigil on tobacco laws for a tobacco freefuture of our State.”