Though banned, sale of tobacco products near colleges continues

City Health

Students smoke cigarettes in the open sold from the shops near their institutions.

Shops around educational institutions continue to sell cigarettes and tobacco products though it is banned. Students smoke in the open near their schools and colleges.

Also, many shops sell loose cigarettes though there is a ban on it.

The Observer found noticed three shops near the Symbiosis School of Media and Communication, Bengaluru, selling cigarettes in packets and also loose to students, who then smoked them in public. There are several other schools and colleges in the area.

Asked why he was selling tobacco products despite a ban, a shopkeeper smiled said: “I don’t have a licence but have to sell cigarettes to make a living.”

Vijendra Bilaguli, a BBMP health official, informed The Observer: “It is a matter the local police should look into. We are aware of the matter, but we cannot do anything if… the police don’t look into the matter. We are not permitting to sell, but it is still going on. We are trying to curb it.”

Akshay Heblikar, director of Eco Watch, said: “The shops have to be regulated jointly by BBMP and the institutions. Just one authority can’t do it. BBMP has to make arrangements for such shops in designated areas away from the institutions.”

Near the BGS International Residential School in the Kumbalgodu area, three snacks shops also sell tobacco products and cigarettes to students.

Raghu D, the owner of a shop, shared: “I have a licence for my shop but not for selling cigarettes or tobacco products. Police have never conducted a raid in this area, so we are safe.”

The law says shops which are in a 100-yard radius of a school or college should not sell tobacco products.

According to Section 6 (a) and 6(b) of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003, “No person shall sell, offer for sale or permit the sale of cigarettes or any other tobacco products to any person who is under 18 years of age; and no person shall sell, offer for sale or permit sale of, cigarettes or any other tobacco products in an area within a radius of one hundred yards of any educational institution.”

Shops that sell tobacco should have a licence. Even the sale of lighters and ashtrays is illegal.

In St Joseph’s College, the rule has been displayed on the wall for students.

D. Savitha, a health expert, said: “Educational authorities should pay more attention to their students so that they can keep control of underage smoking. Parents should have a friendly bond with their children to talk about these things and to make sure that they do not get attracted to bad habits. Police should be more active and aware of the matter.”


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