CHENNAI: Most minors get their tobacco fix from shops near their schools, shows an NGO survey released on Tuesday, the World Anti-tobacco Day. The survey was conducted from January to March by the units of Children Against Tobacco (CAT).
The survey that studied the neighbourhood of 20 government and private schools in the city also showed that all shops that sold chewable tobacco products sold it to minors as well.
It found that all the shops covered in the survey were selling tobacco products within 100 yards of all the schools in violation of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COPTA), 2006. “This is a major threat to children who are exposed to tobacco products and passive smoking,” said S Cyril Alexander, the State convener, Tamil Nadu People’s Forum for Tobacco Control (TNPFTC).
Speaking to reporters after releasing the survey, Cyril said the findings would be submitted to the State Education Department. The principals and headmasters of these schools will be contacted to discuss initiatives to ban the sale of these products in these shops. “As a last resort, the TNPFTC will file a PIL to enforce COPTA,” he added.
“We have been receiving complaints through tobacco monitoring app about students buying tobacco products from shops near their schools. We have received such complaints from Coimbatore and Pudukottai as well. Many teachers from rural places are also approaching us with such complaints,” Cyril told Express.
Banned items like ‘Cool Lip’ and other products were popular among students, particularly girls, he added. A few months ago three girls of a school in Saidapet fainted in class hours after consuming it. Following this, the teachers caught a few selling Cool Lip to students inside the campus.