The health department does not control tobacco – Millions die each year from tobacco use
Seriously, only about 35% of the funds available to the health department are spent under the tobacco control program.
No matter how much the health department beats the drum to control tobacco use in Mumbai, in reality, it seems that Sapshell has not implemented the tobacco control program. A tour of state health department hospitals reveals tobacco shots as well as small pieces of VD. Although millions of people are enrolled in tobacco-free organizations, health department figures show that a few thousand people actually quit smoking. Seriously, only about 35% of the funds available to the health department are spent under the tobacco control program.
Not only has the health department failed to effectively educate the public about the health risks of tobacco use and raise awareness of the tobacco control law, but the health department has failed to spend that much, even with basic financing. May 31 is World No Tobacco Day and although the health department has taken some initiatives in this regard, the health department says there are no effective initiatives. Two years ago, the health department issued an order requiring leaf tobacco vendors to sell packs of cigarettes. It was decided to sell festive cigarettes according to the government order in this regard. However, neither the health department nor the police have taken any action.
Tobacco syringes and weeds in the corners –
Rs 4.5 crore grant was sanctioned for tobacco control program in 2019-20. Of this, the health department spent just Rs 1 crore 47 lakh or 36 per cent. In 2020-21, the grant was halved and only Rs 2 crore 54 lakh was given to the health department, of which only Rs 90 lakh 96 thousand or 35.70 per cent was spent. In 2021-22, Rs 4 crore 9 lakh was sanctioned, of which Rs 82 lakh or 20.22 per cent was spent. There are a total of 503 hospitals in the health department and the hygienic condition of these hospitals is deplorable.
The health department is understaffed, lack of planning –
According to the health department, tobacco use in the state is 26.6% in 2016-17 and the health department has set a goal of 21% in the next five years. However, the health department is understaffed for this and also lacks planning. You don’t see doctors or health department hospital security guards taking concrete punitive action against relatives of patients who smoke or spit tobacco. Under Section 4 of the Cigarette and Tobacco Act 2003, smoking in public places, the ban on advertising under section 5, the ban on the sale of tobacco products to children under the age of 18, and the statutory warnings in tobacco packets under section 7 are required. The health department also failed to coordinate with police and the Food and Drug Administration.
How will the health department prevent cancer and lung disease caused by tobacco use and smoking? –
In 2018-19, only Rs 35 lakh 86 thousand 937 was levied in the action taken by the health department and at the same time, the food and drug administration department levied a fine of 4 crore 18 lakh. Apart from this, considering the action taken by the police, a fine of Rs 5 crore 38 lakh 82 thousand was imposed under the Tobacco Act for the whole year. In 2019-20, the agencies involved collected just Rs 1 crore 42 lakh in fines, of which the health department’s share was just Rs 20 lakh 55 thousand. In the year 2020-21, the total criminal action was 3 crore 54 lakhs and the share of the health department was only 3 lakh 61 thousand 936 rupees. Doctors from the health department say the question is how the health department can prevent cancer and lung diseases caused by tobacco use and smoking, since the top brass of the health department is not willing enough to control the tobacco.
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