Maharashtra Set to Penalize Public Tobacco Chewing and Spitting

by Sasikala Radhakrishnan on Jul 3 2014 1:08 PM

Maharashtra Set to Penalize Public Tobacco Chewing and Spitting
The Maharashtra health department is all set to penalize people who chew smokeless tobacco and spit out in public.
The new law to this effect will be rolled out on August 1.

The list of public places included are hospitals, railway stations, airports, educational institutions, public offices, court premises, libraries, canteens, amusement centers and banks, and according to COTPA, public places are those visited by people frequently.

People tend to spit out in public after chewing tobacco and pan, which is unhygienic and leads to fatal diseases such as TB, and that is the main reason for imposing the ban, said government sources.

The health department will soon issue a resolution to impose a fine on people chewing tobacco/pan in public places.

State principal health secretary, Sujata Saunik, said "We are in the process of creating a penalty system for people found chewing tobacco or spitting it in public."

She added, “Since gutka and paan masala are banned in Maharashtra, even they will be included under the purview."

A ban on manufacture, sale and consumption of gutka, paan masala, kharra and scented tobacco is already in place in the state.

Public smoking is also a punishable offence in India with a penalty of up to Rs. 200.

Statistics reveal India to be the second largest consumer of tobacco products in the world. About 275 million people are tobacco addicts, and TB bacteria have infected nearly 40% of the total population in India.

The Global Adult Tobacco Survey carried out in India in 2009-2010 found 42.5% tobacco consumers in Maharashtra of which 30% chewed smokeless tobacco.