* Delegation of IMA and AHPI Chhattisgarh Chapter met Health Minister T.S. Singhdeo * Amendment bill should be brought in Assembly to remove the loopholes of COTPA 2003 Act * 39% of Chhattisgarh's population consumes tobacco products, 26% youth are victims of passive smoking * Smoking should be completely banned at public places; promotion of tobacco products should be banned at the point of sale * Minimum age required to consume tobacco products should be increased from 18 years to 21 years * Sale of loose tobacco products should be prohibited * Brand Ambassadors should be made to conduct awareness campaigns in schools about the ill-effects of tobacco consumption RAIPUR: Indian Medical Association (IMA) Raipur and Association of Healthcare Providers India (AHPI) Chhattisgarh Chapter have demanded amendment in the COTPA Act 2003 at the state level in Chhattisgarh. A delegation led by Dr. Rakesh Gupta, President, IMA Raipur and AHPI Chhattisgarh, Dr. Digvijay Singh, General Secretary, IMA Raipur, Atul Singhania, General Secretary, AHPI Chhattisgarh Chapter, Dr. Anil Jain, Treasurer, among others, met the Health Minister of Chhattisgarh, Mr. T.S. Singhdeo and brought some important points pertaining to this to the notice of Health Minister. The delegation mentioned that according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2 of the Government of India, more than 13 Lakh people in India die every year due to consumption of tobacco and related products in the country. 39% of Chhattisgarh’s population is suffering from the adverse effects of tobacco consumption. In our state, 53.7% men and 24.6% women consume tobacco and related products. According to the Global Youth Tobacco Survey 2019, 8% of school children aged 13 to 15 years (average age 7.3 years) in Chhattisgarh are consuming tobacco and related products and 26% youth are victims of passive smoking. The delegation informed the Health Minister that the Government of India's Central Act - Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (COTPA 2003) has been made with the aim of controlling and monitoring tobacco and related products. However there are some loopholes in the Act due to which the efforts of the Government to control the use of tobacco are being hampered. The COTPA 2003 Act allows smoking in certain public places such as restaurants, hotels and airports. This needs to be banned so that unintentional passive smoking can be stopped. Hoardings and display of advertisements at the point of sale of tobacco and related products should be comprehensively banned. The current legal age for consumption of tobacco products should be increased from 18 years to 21 years. Sale of loose tobacco and related products should be banned. Guidelines should be issued at the Government level to strictly control the sale of tobacco and related products within 100 meters of all educational institutions. The delegation suggested to the Health Minister that Brand Ambassadors should be made in the schools to create awareness about the ill effects of tobacco products. Apart from doctors, all the institutions working in the health sector should be associated with this campaign. The delegation assured the Health Minister that IMA and AHPI will extend full cooperation to the Government in making this campaign a success. The delegation of IMA and AHPI requested the Health Minister that in order to protect the people of Chhattisgarh especially children and youth from tobacco related diseases; the Health Minister may lead the initiative to bring an Amendment Bill in Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly to amend the COTPA Act 2003. This will prove to be a milestone for the better health of the people of Chhattisgarh.