Shimla: As per a government survey, Himachal Pradesh has emerged as the "first smoke free state" in the country, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal on Thursday said.
As per the latest survey report of health department, there is an effective compliance of Smoke Free Rules under Tobacco Control Act, 2003 in all district headquarters, the Chief Minister said.
All district headquarters qualify for smoke free status, Dhumal said while presiding over the state level function of 'World No Tobacco Day' in Shimla.
Prem Kumar Dhumal said that 38.5 per cent male and 3.7 per cent female use tobacco in Himachal as per 2009-10 survey report.
The Chief Minister flagged off motor bike rally carrying the message of ill-effects of consumption of Tobacco and its by-products all over the state.
Dhumal said Tashi Jong village in Kangra district had been declared as First Tobacco Free village in the state and tobacco products advertising was not permitted in any form.
The state government was concerned about the health of the school children and had banned sale of tobacco and its by products within 100 yards radius of educational institutions and VAT had been raised on tobacco products to curb its sale, he said.
Dhumal said 54 lakh people were dying due to consumption of tobacco products annually out of which eight to nine lakh were in India alone. He said that 38.5 per cent male and 3.7 per cent female use tobacco in Himachal as per 2009-10 survey report.
Observing that about 90 per cent cases of throat and mouth cancer were due to tobacco consumption, Dhumal appealed for creating awareness about its ill effects.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has conferred WHO-South East Asia Regional Office (SEARO's) AWard-2012 to Himachal government for its outstanding achievements in Anti-Tobacco campaign.
The award was presented to state health minister Rajeev Bindal by WHO representative at a function.
Bindal said so far 42,591 persons were fined in the state for smoking in public places during last three years and a sum of Rs 55 lakh was collected as fine from the defaulters and challans were filed in the courts in 137 cases.