Bengaluru: More than 1,000 youth from Bengaluru have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, requesting him to pass the COTPA (Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act) Amendment Bill 2020 in the ongoing Monsoon Session of the Parliament to save youth from tobacco.
Along with the youth, Consortium for Tobacco Free Karnataka, Anti-Tobacco Forum, National Law School of India University, and others have also urged the Prime Minister to pass the COTPA amendment bill 2020 drafted by the Union Health Ministry.
In their letters, the youth stressed that to contain tobacco use and prevent youth from addiction, COTPA has to be amended to make it stronger and more comprehensive.
They requested the Prime Minister to increase the legal age for tobacco use from existing 18 to 21 years, ban the provision for Designated Smoking Areas at airports, hotels and bars, completely ban the direct and indirect advertisement of tobacco, and levy hefty penalties for smoking in public places and to make the public places 100 per cent smoke-free.
“We find that COTPA is being violated blatantly. As per the Global Youth Tobacco Survey, children even before attaining 10 years of age are getting addicted to tobacco. Children and youths are lured into tobacco through illegal advertisements. We have to ban all forms of direct and indirect tobacco advertisement by amending COTPA”, said S.J. Chander, convenor of Consortium for Tobacco Free Karnataka, a coalition working on tobacco control in the state.
“Youth are getting lured by direct advertisements and indirect promotion of tobacco. They are the main target of the tobacco companies as once they get addicted it is difficult to get out of this vicious cycle. We request the Prime Minister to increase the legal age for smoking to 21 years, when youth realize that tobacco is not good for their health,” said Eshaan S, one of the youth who wrote a letter to PM Modi.