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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 116-121

How effective is tobacco control enforcement to protect minors: Results from subnational surveys across four districts in India

1 Department of Community Medicine, School of Public Health, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
2 Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Himachal Pradesh, India
3 Department of Tobacco and NCD Control, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Pranay Lal
Technical Advisor, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, C-6, Qutub Institutional Area, New Delhi - 110 016
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2468-8827.198583

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Context: On analogy with the WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, Indian tobacco control legislation, namely, Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), prohibits the sale of tobacco products to minors and near an educational institution. Aims: The objectives are to measure the compliance to the provisions of COTPA which bans the tobacco sale to and by the minors, prohibits sale within 100 yards distance of an educational institution, and an overall compliance to guidelines of "Tobacco-free educational institutions." Methods: Using a pretested observational checklist, a cross-sectional survey was conducted between January and March 2013 across 1227 point-of-sale and 1408 educational institutions in four districts in India in 2013. Requisite ethical and administrative approvals were taken. Results: The study found moderate to low compliance to the provisions of COTPA regarding the ban on sale of tobacco products, to and by the minors, and around educational institutions. Tobacco products were easily accessible to minors in 57.7% of tobacco shops. The mandatory signages under Section-6 (b) of COTPA were not displayed in less than half of the educational institutions. In nearly one-fifth, tobacco products were being sold in and around 100 yards of institute's boundary. More violations pertaining to Section-6 (a) and 6 (b) were reported in district Jhunjhunu (representing Western India) and district Dhar (representing Central India), respectively, as compared to other jurisdictions under study. The tobacco-free institution guidelines were being followed by most educational institutions of Ernakulam district (representing South India). Conclusions: The present study observed a low compliance with enforcement of Indian tobacco control legislation. Thus, monitoring for compliance of policies and advocacy with policymakers is important for ensuring proper enforcement and preventing youth from initiating into tobacco use.

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