Nitesh R Pradhan
Singtam, Dec 21
The District Tobacco Control Cell, Singtam District Hospital organized DCC meet under the chairmanship of SDM Rangpo with an objectives to educate different Government and local stakeholders and GPU to promote and maintain ” Smoke Free Sikkim State” on 20 December.
Dr Durga Prasad Koirala ( District Nodal Officer, NTCP) welcomed all the distinguished guests and highlighted the importance of tobacco control program for the prevention and control of Non-communicable diseases including cancer, hypertension and diabetes.
Dr Satish Rasaily ( Addiction Medicine Specialist) deliberated on the concept of substance (drug) use disorders, legal & illegal drugs, common drugs abused in Sikkim, and rising trend of Brown Sugar ( BS, matto, heroin), early threatening signs of drug misuse by adolescents/ school children to enable parents to identify early and seek help, and the importance of Center for Addiction Medicine( CAM), Chuwatar in developing treatment services to help individuals and families afflicted with drug addiction.
Rinzing Bhutia ( Deputy Director, Sanitation & NTCP Cell) highlighted various strategies adopted till date to realize smoke free Sikkim on 31st May 2010.
Dr Baroon Subba ( State Nodal Officer, NTCP) made a comprehensive presentation on various sections under COTPA ( Cigarettes and other Tobacco Product Act 2003) highlighting section 4, 5,6,7 to prohibit smoking in public places, selling of tobacco products to & by minors, pictorial warnings in cigarette packets, and ban on advertisement including proceedings of COTPA enforcement by designated officers and fine upto Rs 200 for violation of any sections. He also said that the Dept of Health & Family Welfare will be intensifying COTPA raids in Sikkim to maintain ” Smoke Free State”.
Dr Tshering Laden ( CMO East) said that the TFR ( Total fertility rate) of Sikkim has declined to 1.2 indicating downward trend in population growth . Our reproductive couples are adopting only 1 child norm which is a serious concern in future. Therefore, it’s very important to protect and prevent every child from diseases, disorders, negative influence and substance abuse to promote qualitative growth & development to safeguard our future. She also stressed on the relationship between tuberculosis and smoking, and need to advise people to quit. She said that the primary objective of COTPA act is to protect nonsmokers, women and children. People are not prohibited to smoke but we need to learn to smoke responsibly without harming health of non-smokers. Yes, shopkeepers are allowed to sell cigarettes but need to take responsibility to always sell cigarettes as per COTPA guidelines and refrain from selling tobacco to children below 18 yrs.
SDM Rangpo Prem Kamal Rai emphasized on the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders and need to strengthened coordination to implement COTPA enforcement in East Sikkim. He also suggested to develop flyers, pamphlets, and educational materials to be distributed to public to educate them on this Act. In- addition, special emphasis was laid to conduct sensitization programs for PRI ( panchayats system). Further, he directed Dr DP Koirala to conduct DLCC meet in January to develop district action plan and assured all support.
The Program was managed by Dr Birendra Chettri, Dr Eden Tsh. Bhutia, Navin Chamlagain, Tulshi Dhakal, Priya Dhamala, Rakesh Dahal and District Program Management unit.