Don’t spit, chew tobacco in public places: Punjab minister

Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, (Samajweekly) Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu on Sunday appealed to the public not to spit or chew tobacco in public places as it spreads infectious diseases, including COVID-19 and tuberculosis.

Now, there is a provision of a Rs 500 penalty for spitting in public places.

Speaking on the occasion of World No-Tobacco Day, Sidhu said the state government has launched a statewide awareness campaign to highlight the deadly effect of smokeless tobacco use and motivate people to quit especially amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

The evidence-based campaign includes the launch of a pre-tested public service announcement entitled “I Don’t Believe”, which focuses on the health harms that smokeless tobacco users are prone to, and are at a heightened risk for cancer compared to non-users.

Nandita Murukutla, Vice President of the Global Policy and Research, Policy, Advocacy and Communication, Vital Strategies, said hard-hitting mass media campaigns are a powerful tool in tobacco control.

“We commend the state’s health department on the timely launch of ‘I Don’t Believe’ and promoting the campaign widely across Punjab. By showing the deadly health harms of tobacco use, the campaign will encourage current smokeless tobacco users to quit.”