Anti-smoking legislation in educational institutions in India: opinion of stakeholders and challenges in implementation
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Maulana Azad Medical College, India
Maulana Azad Medical College, Community Medicine, India
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A959
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Background and challenges to implementation:
Tobacco use usually begins in adolescence, and the risk of tobacco use is highest among those who start early and continue its use for a long period. Global Youth Tobacco Survey-2009, revealed that nearly 15% of youth in India use tobacco. In the wake of international efforts and growing consciousness about harmful effects of tobacco use, the Government of India enacted “The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003” (COTPA), in May 2003 with a view to protect public health by prohibiting smoking in public places, banning advertisements of the tobacco products, banning sale of tobacco products to minors and near educational institutions, prescribing strong health warnings including pictorial depiction on tobacco products, and regulation of tar and nicotine contents of tobacco products.

Intervention or response:
Delhi government started the "Smoke Free Delhi" initiative in 2009. The rising trend of tobacco smoking among students in the country makes it imperative to provide a smoke-free environment in the educational institutions. The current study was undertaken with the objective to assess the status of implementation of anti-smoking legislation and perception among stakeholders in educational institutions in Delhi.

Results and lessons learnt:
Out of the total 596 participants,125 (21%) reported to be current smokers. 64.8% of the participants were aware about the COTPA, but the awareness about the organizations implementing the act was very low, being only 7 (5.6%) among smokers, and 23 (4.9%) among nonsmokers.Regarding the awareness of places designated as “Smoke Free Zones,” majority said educational institutions, followed by airport, shopping malls, and buses/trains. A majority of the smokers (85.6%) supported ban on smoking at public places.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
The level of awareness about antismoking legislation was high and majority support ban on smoking. However, the mechanism of implementation of the law was unclear to most.