Milestones of Indian Asthma care society
a. How COTPA 2003 enactment took place?
b. Historic writ petition for ban on tobacco which lead to COTPA act
c. Efforts of IACS for tobacco ban quoted in the proceedings of WHO conferenced.
d. IACS efforts lead to enactment of COTPA; quoted in the leading magazine
IACS presented and pleaded for law and motivated all MLAs and ministers. Efforts lead to enactment of a law to ban public smoking in Rajasthan in 2000. Example of an effort as under:
folder 1993 MLAs Meeting in the assembly
Special issue of Asthma sanjeevani magazine,
letter to all MLAs. Hordings,books, pamphlets etc.
a. How Gutkha became a problem?
The use of premix of chewing tobacco & pan masala named gutkha has increased exponentially during last 40 years. Gutkha harms body by causing as many as 25 fatal diseases and empty gutkha pouches were harming environment by littering every corner of the mother land India.
Initial victory for gutkha ban
In view of failure of our earlier attempts to ban tobacco the core team of Indian asthma care society met and reviewed the strategy. It was decided to adopt “Namak andolan strategy of Mahatma Gandhi”. Instead of hitting directly on gutkha we planned to hit plastic pouch of the gutkha & IACS filed a writ petition against Gutkha pouch. Strategy was successful and it did not catch attention of mighty gutkha companies and Rajasthan high court banned plastic pouch of Gutkha. At this point tobacco companies realized the effect of ban and they got stay from supreme court.
The Supreme Court judgement: In supreme court with help of volunteers such as advocate GS Bapna, IACS argued the case. In 2010 the Supreme court in its judgment banned the plastic pouch of Gutkha. It was a big relief for plastic pollution. As per decision on the writ petition of Indian Asthma Care society gutkha companies were ordered not to use plastic pouches of tobacco and pan-masala after 1st April 2011.
Such an expert report was prepared by DGHS in 1995 in compliance of our earlier writ petition. But the report was more than 10 year and it was not traceable in the government departments. With great difficulty the old report of DGHS committee was searched and it was placed in the supreme court. Ultimately supreme court banned gutkha as well. more
Impact of IACS efforts for gutkha ban: scientific studies
i. Lung India 2012;29:212-16:Price and consumption of tobacco: 21% reduction in consumption in chewing tobacco was associated with increased price of chewing tobacco products. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3424857/
ii. Indian J Cancer 2014;51:129-32. Impact of 'gutkha and pan masala ban' in the state of Maharashtra on users and vendors: 23% left chewing tobacco with ban Gutkha. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/264630379_Impact_of_'gutkha_and_pan_masala_ban'_in_the_state_of_Maharashtra_on_users_and_vendors
a. Impact of IACS efforts os Plastic Pouch bag
i. Separate pouches produced reduction in best taste feeling
ii. Moisture created problem in stability
iii. Since stability of plastic packaged gutkha-panmasala was not a problem therefore companies used to replace damaged goods even after many years. But now best before use date of paper packaging is reduced from many years to 1 month.
iv. Reduction in plastic waste: There are 10 core chewing tobacco users in the India. A typical tobacco user takes atleast 4 pouches /day. 40crore pouches/day would weigh 400 tonnes if weight of plastic pouch is taken 1gm. 400 tonnes out of total 15000 tonnes of daily waste in the country is 2.6%. With IACS efforts country has 2.6% less plastic pollution.
b.. How noncompliance on plastic pouch ban was tackled?
But orders were not followed by the Gutkha & pan-masala manufacturing factories. In view of such disobedience apex court directed the environment ministry and other agencies to ensure the implementation of its orders. In March 2016 the environment ministry came up with the PWM Rules under the Environment Protection Act, 1986 to tackle the problem of plastic packaging. The PWM Rules clearly state that no plastic sachets would be used for storing, packing or selling of gutkha, tobacco and pan masala products. According to the ministry, 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated daily, of which only 9,000 tonnes is collected and processed. Disposal of used plastic sachets is a big problem to choke the drains and to pollute the air when burnt. The ban includes use of materials such as vinyl acetate, maleic acid and vinyl chloride copolymer in packaging gutkha and pan masala.
6. In order to educate patients of asthma and allergy a magazine named “Asthma Sanjeevani” was published from 1993 to 2000. Issues of magazines were very popular among patients and relatives.
12. Asthma Bhawan was the first center in the state to start most advanced EBUS testing for lung tumors.
13. “Daru nahi doodh” symbolic program on 31st December every year since 2006 at Raj university gate to discourage alcohol use on new year.