Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has urged the Assam Health & Family Welfare Minister, Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma, to completely ban the sale of tobacco products and spitting in public places in Assam.
The union health minister has written to Assam health minister and other state ministers urging them to create widespread awareness in the state of Assam and other states about harms of spitting in public places and implement scrupulously and effectively the directions of Ministry of Home Affairs in this regards, to check the spread of COVID 19 infection.
Dr.Harsh Vardhans in his letter to Assam Health & Family Welfare Minister has stated that “Tobacco use is a major threat to public health globally. Smokeless tobacco users have a tendency to spread in public places or otherwise and therefore, increase the risks especially of spreading infectious and contagious diseases like COVID-19, tuberculosis, swine flu, encephalitis, etc. The use of smokeless tobacco also creates an unhygienic environment which further spreads these diseases. Large gatherings at the retail outlets where smokeless tobacco products are sold also pose the risk of spread of COVID-19.”
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has also appealed to the general public not to consume and spit smokeless tobacco products in public as “chewing smokeless tobacco products (Gutka, Pan Masala with tobacco, pan, and other swing tobacco products) and areca nut (supari) increase the production of saliva followed by a very strong urge to spit. Spitting in public places could enhance the spread of the COVID-19 virus.” also by banning spitting in public places, the States/UTs can help in achieving not only Swachh Bharat but also Swasth Bharat (Clean India & Healthy India).