The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan has written to the state Health Minister Vishwajit Rane asking him to follow in the footsteps of Jharkhand and Rajasthan in banning the sale of tobacco products and spitting in public places.
“Tobacco use is a major threat to public health. Smokeless tobacco users have a tendency to spit in public places or otherwise and therefore, increase health risks especially those spreading infectious and contagious disease like COVID-19,” reads the letter dated May 11, 2020 written by Dr Vardhan.
The Union Minister has brought to the notice of Rane that Indian Council of Medical Research has made an appeal requesting the general public not to consume and spit smokeless tobacco and also pointed out that Ministry of Home Affairs under the National Disaster Management Act 2005, has stipulated that spitting in public places shall be punishable with fine and consumption of liquor, paan, gutka, tobacco etc in public places is not allowed.
Dr Vardhan has asked Rane to create widespread awareness in Goa regarding harms of spitting in public places and also asked him to implemented MHA’s directions scrupulously and effectively.
The secretary of National Organisations for Tobacco Eradication in Goa, Dr Shekhar Salkar in a statement issued has also urged the Goa government to ban the sale and use of tobacco products and spitting to prevent the spread of COVID-19.