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Mizoram get tough against tobacco use and drug abuse

By The Assam Tribune

Aizawl, Oct 9 (IANS): Concerned with the high incidence of cancer and tobacco- and drug-related diseases, the Mizoram government has decided to enact stringent laws to curb the excess use of tobacco products and drug abuse, officials here said.

A senior Health Department official told reporters on Saturday: "Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla held a high level meeting here with ministers concerned and top officials. The meeting decided to enforce tough laws to check the drug abuse and tobacco related menaces."

"The meeting has decided that the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and the Assam Drug Control Act (adopted by Mizoram) should be enforced with state specific amendments to suit the prevailing problem. The proposed act would be made more tough with sufficient penalty and sentence provisions for the guilty," the official stated.

According to a recent study conducted by a local social group -- Mizoram Population Base Cancer Registry (MPBCR) -- cancer claims lives of 550 to 600 people on an average annually in Mizoram, whose total population is just little over one million.

As per the state government records, the mountainous northeastern state, bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh, had topped the country eight years ago in the consumption of tobacco.

The Mizoram government has already launched a programme last year to become a "smoking-free" state.

"No persons are being allowed to smoke in open places or in front of a non-smoker. Smoking has already been banned in the premises of government offices, educational institutions, health centres and crowded places across Mizoram," an official release quoted the chief minister as saying in the meeting.

The chief minister's wife, Lal Riliani, president of the Mizoram chapter of the Indian Society of Tobacco Health, said that more than 50 percent of cancer cases among Mizos were caused by tobacco.

"The state government is giving its all out support to anti-tobacco organisations and activists to strictly enforce the Control of Tobacco Products Act (CTPA) in the state," Lal Riliani told reporters.

Mizos, both men, women and children, are traditionally heavy smokers of different types of tobacco. The latest survey, conducted in 2009, revealed that over 65 percent of the state's population were smokers.

"Awareness drives on the ill-effects of tobacco campaign are part of the anti-tobacco programme," Lal Riliani stated.

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Mizoram get tough against tobacco use and drug abuse

Aizawl, Oct 9 (IANS): Concerned with the high incidence of cancer and tobacco- and drug-related diseases, the Mizoram government has decided to enact stringent laws to curb the excess use of tobacco products and drug abuse, officials here said.

A senior Health Department official told reporters on Saturday: "Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla held a high level meeting here with ministers concerned and top officials. The meeting decided to enforce tough laws to check the drug abuse and tobacco related menaces."

"The meeting has decided that the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and the Assam Drug Control Act (adopted by Mizoram) should be enforced with state specific amendments to suit the prevailing problem. The proposed act would be made more tough with sufficient penalty and sentence provisions for the guilty," the official stated.

According to a recent study conducted by a local social group -- Mizoram Population Base Cancer Registry (MPBCR) -- cancer claims lives of 550 to 600 people on an average annually in Mizoram, whose total population is just little over one million.

As per the state government records, the mountainous northeastern state, bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh, had topped the country eight years ago in the consumption of tobacco.

The Mizoram government has already launched a programme last year to become a "smoking-free" state.

"No persons are being allowed to smoke in open places or in front of a non-smoker. Smoking has already been banned in the premises of government offices, educational institutions, health centres and crowded places across Mizoram," an official release quoted the chief minister as saying in the meeting.

The chief minister's wife, Lal Riliani, president of the Mizoram chapter of the Indian Society of Tobacco Health, said that more than 50 percent of cancer cases among Mizos were caused by tobacco.

"The state government is giving its all out support to anti-tobacco organisations and activists to strictly enforce the Control of Tobacco Products Act (CTPA) in the state," Lal Riliani told reporters.

Mizos, both men, women and children, are traditionally heavy smokers of different types of tobacco. The latest survey, conducted in 2009, revealed that over 65 percent of the state's population were smokers.

"Awareness drives on the ill-effects of tobacco campaign are part of the anti-tobacco programme," Lal Riliani stated.