Tobacco industry is deliberately targeting school children

As Maharashtra struggles to curb the sale of tobacco products near schools, surveys done by the NGO Salaam Bombay Foundation throw up some disturbing statistics. 1 in 4 children at Mumbai’s municipal schools use some form of tobacco. Another survey of 200 schools, finds 61 per cent of them have tobacco shops within 100 yards of their premises. This is despite the BMC banning such sales two months ago and is in clear violation of the law. According to the latest Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), 5 million children in India under the age of 18 use some form of tobacco products.

Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Oncology Surgeon, Tata Memorial Hospital, says, “It is known that tobacco addiction starts at the age of 12 years and 80 per cent of the pan shops in India are near schools and colleges as they know if they can influence children then they would be catering to a huge market.”

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