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Smokeless tobacco products, spitting banned in 28 states and UTs

Public health experts have welcomed the central government’s move to ban the use of tobacco products and spitting in public places to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

May 11, 2020 18:21 IST
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The Union Ministry has stated that over 25 states and union territories have banned the use of smokeless tobacco products and spitting in public places due to COVID-19.

The states and UT’s who have banned these products include Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Assam.

The Health Ministry on April 1 had asked all the states to ban the use and spitting of smokeless tobacco in the public areas in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Why is it important to ban smokeless products?

The Health Ministry in a letter to the Chief Secretaries of all states and UTs had stated that chewing smokeless tobacco products such as areca nut (supari) and paan masala, increases the production of saliva which led to a very strong urge to spit. Spitting in public places further enhances the chances of spreading the COVID-19 virus.

Key Highlights:

•  Public health experts have welcomed the central government’s move to ban the use of tobacco products and spitting in public places. It will help in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

•  The use of smokeless tobacco products and spitting has been banned by the 22 states and UTs.

•  Bhavna Mukhopadhyay, Chief Executive, Voluntary Health Association of India stated that to protect the health and to reduce the risk of COVID-19, it is urged that all the smokers and tobacco users must quit.

•  States such as Chandigarh, Assam, Jharkhand, Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha are among the others who have been penalizing violators for spitting tobacco in public places.

Smoking increases the risk of COVID-19:

As per Prof Pratima Murthy, Professor, and Head, Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, there has been growing evidence that smoking increases the greater risk of contracting COVID-19. It worsens lung function and reduces immunity. She further explained that smokers who have COVID-19 infection suffer from more complications.

Dr. Rakesh Gupta, Consultant working for Tobacco cessation, mentioned that the Ministry of health and state health department must promote quitting tobacco through electronic and social media. He further added that it is an opportunity that will help in increasing the quit rate amid COVID-19.

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