Aizawl, March 5 (IANS): The Mizoram government has decided to enact tough laws to curb the use of tobacco products and drug abuse blamed for cancer and heart ailments, an official said here.
"Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla held a meeting here last week with ministers and officials and decided to enforce inflexible laws to check drug abuse and tobacco related menaces," a health department official told reporters on Sunday. "It was decided that the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances act and the Assam Drug Control Act (adopted by Mizoram) would be enforced with state specific amendments to suit the prevailing problem," the official stated.
The proposed laws would be tough and with sufficient penalty and imprisonment for the guilty, he said
According to a study by social group Mizoram Population Base Cancer Registry, cancer claims lives of 550-600 people on an average annually in Mizoram, whose total population is a 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 tobacco consumption. "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.
Social activist and Chief Minister's wife, Lal Riliani said that more than 50 percent of cancer cases among Mizos were caused by tobacco.