Bhubaneswar: Even after six years of official ban of gutkha in Odisha, still 39 per cent of the children in slums are unaware of the notification in the capital city here, revealed Salaam Jeevan, a voluntary organisation that has been working on tobacco control, in a report on the occasion of World Tobacco Day on Friday.
During the study, as many as 300 children aged between 10 to 18 years residing in three urban slums of Bhubaneswar city were randomly interviewed on various aspects like awareness on harmful impact of tobacco, cancer and its warning stages, anti tobacco legislation, role of guardians and related psychosocial scenarios.
It tells that about 73 per cent children are using gutkha, pan masala and other forms of tobacco stuff and the average age of starting of tobacco consumption in any form is 12. As per the Section 6 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003, tobacco stuff will not be sold to or by minors in the country, but it seems contrary.
While the COTPA, 2003 prohibits the sale of tobacco within 100 yards of educational institutions, the study revealed that 66.3 % of children are of the opinion that they have seen the sale of tobacco stuff very closed to the schools.
Similarly, 45.6 % of the children have seen the advertisements of tobacco stuff in media. Despite ban of add of tobacco stuff, many media houses give the Ad of tobacco stuff in a surrogate way.
Research led by chief researcher Md Imran Ali, field data collectors Bijoy Kumar Sahu, Bandana Sahu, Sameer Ranjan Mahamallik and psychometric analyst Sareeta Behera said that 78.2% of children agreed to quit tobacco if are given regular counselling support, motivation and follow up.