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Posted at: Dec 18, 2014, 12:10 AM; last updated: Dec 17, 2014, 10:51 PM (IST)

Tourism players for tobacco-free Kashmir

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, December 17

With an aim to curtail the use of cigarettes and other tobacco products, Kashmir-based tourism trade bodies have decided to “revitalise” their fight against the use of tobacco in public places.

“We are serious in promoting a tobacco-free Kashmir and for realising this dream we will pool in our resources and ensure that public places such as hotels and restaurants that are under our control are made 100 per cent tobacco-free zones,” President, Kashmir Hotels and Restaurant Association (KHARA), Showkat Chaudry said.

The tourism trade body, which is working hard for the revival of the local tourism industry after the floods, is planning to issue fresh circulars to all its members asking them to follow the COTPA Act in letter and spirit.

The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act (COTPA), enacted in 2003 and applicable in the entire country, was aimed to discourage the consumption of cigarettes and other tobacco products by imposing progressive restrictions and to protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke.

Notably, the implementation of the COTPA Act becomes all the more important in a place like Kashmir where 26.6% of the population is using tobacco products in one or the other of its form.

“We will also encourage our members and educate them about the ill-effects of tobacco so that they contribute in making Kashmir a tobacco-free place,” Chaudry said, adding that the state government and other NGOs too need to play their part in educating the people about the ill-effects of tobacco use.

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