New Delhi, 04 July: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA from Hari Nagar, Shri Jagdeep Singh joined the ‘Pledge for Life’ campaign, which aims at protecting youth and non-smokers. During COTPA (the Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products Act) drive by the Police in his constituency, he personally made people aware about ill-effects of tobacco.

A large number of supporters were with Shri Jagdeep Singh during this drive. Advertisement and hoardings of tobacco products, which were a violation as per COTPA, were also removed by the vendors at various tobacco outlets.

It is to be mentioned that in June last week AAP MLAs came on roads to show their commitment to tobacco control. In a first of its kind initiative in the country, MLAs, Sambandh Health Foundation (SHF), Max India Foundation and Delhi Police did a joint campaign on enforcement of COTPA.

MLA also told users to quit tobacco while Police was penalizing violators under COTPA during an enforcement drive. Tobacco Vendors were also appealed by the MLA to comply with the provisions of COTPA.

MLA Jagdeep Singh said, “Vendors should not be selling tobacco products to minors and if they do, they must be penalized as prescribed under the law.”

As per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2016-17, more than 25 lac people in Delhi use tobacco in form of smoking and chewing. In Delhi, more than 10,000 users die annually due to diseases attributed to tobacco while 81 children initiate tobacco use everyday.”

Senior Project Manager of Sambandh Health Foundation (SHF) Dr. Somil Rastogi said, “As per Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2016-17, tobacco Smoking (11.3%) is more prevalent in Delhi than chewing (8.8%). In Delhi, Bidi is the most commonly used tobacco product (8.2%) followed by cigarettes and Khaini which are 4.9% each. The mean age at initiation of tobacco use in Delhi is 18.3 years which has come down over last 6-7 years. Shockingly 28% adults get exposed to passive smoking in public places while 20% get exposed at work places. Passive smoking is equally dangerous for non-smokers as smoking to smoker himself. Section 4 of COTPA prohibits smoking in public places which targets to protect non-smokers from exposure to passive smoking.

Dr. Harit Chaturvedi, Chairman Max Oncology and Voice of Tobacco Victims (VoTV) patron, said, It’s a great initiative by Public Representatives for a social cause which is one of its kind in India to protect our young generations. Delhi Police on COTPA enforcement is doing a commendable job. All these collaborative efforts will lead towards a positive ''social behaviour.”

Taking tobacco control measures further, the MLAs will be meeting students and teachers in schools on one-to-one basis in the second phase of the campaign to make them aware of hazards of tobacco consumption. Will also appeal them to keep away from these deadly tobacco products, which has no use, except for premature death and disability.