Agartala, July 21 (IANS): Alarmed at the high incidence of cancer and tobacco and drug-related diseases in the State, the Tripura government has decided to punish those using tobacco in public places, officials said here on Friday.
The government will also continue its drive against excessive use of tobacco products for their ill-effects and to curb drug abuse, officials said.
"The State government has authorised all drug, food and school inspectors, officers-in-charge of all police stations and health officials to impose an on-the-spot fine of at least Rs 200 against users of tobacco in open places," an official of the State Health Department told IANS.
He said: "A high-level meeting was held here on Friday to undertake a massive campaign against the ill-effects of tobacco and drugs and punitive measures across the State."
Senior officials of health, drug control, police and education departments, elected representatives and NGO delegates attended the meeting.
Tripura state tobacco control cell nodal officer Gautam Majumder said that tobacco causes 50 percent of cancer cases in India.
According to Majumder, the union government had launched National Project for Tobacco Control Programme in 21 states in India in 1988 to check the dreadful use of tobacco.
"In the northeastern States, out of every 1,000 people, 55 people are heart patients, 160 people suffering from diabetes, and one person has cancer due to heavy use of tobacco and tobacco products," the official added.