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DHSK launches Tobacco Monitor

12:30 AM Jun 01, 2024 IST | Rabiya Bashir
dhsk launches tobacco monitor

Srinagar, May 31: On ‘World No Tobacco Day’, Directorate of Health Services Kashmir (DHSK) on Friday launched 'Tobacco Monitor' mobile app to crack down on tobacco violations and create awareness among the masses.


The app allows anyone to report instances of tobacco products being sold to minors or other violations of tobacco laws.


Users simply open the app, enter the location of the violation, and local authorities are automatically alerted to act.


The app was launched by Mission Director NHM, Nazim Zai Khan and Director, Health Services Kashmir, Dr. Mushtaq Ahmad Rather.


Mission Director NHM, Nazim Zai Khan, said that by organizing different activities, they are trying to send a message to the public about the ill effects of tobacco use.


"As a department, we are not the final authority over it. In a democracy, the citizens are. We are going to make them aware. There are laws in place," he said.


Khan said that while they are spreading awareness to the public, they cannot dictate terms; it is the public who must make the final decision.


"I have been told that over the period of one year, we have gone from thousands to lakhs in fines. There has been a marked improvement. In days to come, you will see more enforcement," he added.

Dr. Mir Mushtaq, Nodal Officer of the National Tobacco Control Programme in J&K told Greater Kashmir that they have created an app so that anyone can report Tobacco Violation through this app.

"You have to open the app and write the name of the place where Tobacco Violation is happening. You can just go through it and open it and see how it works. The local authority will get a report that Tobacco Violation is happening,” he said.

He said that Tobacco free education institutions were not getting compliance.

“Since we started the campaign, almost 4,000 schools are Tobacco compliant. We have also increased the awareness generation clinics. We are providing cessation facilities in every district,” he said.

Mir Mushtaq said that they have increased the enforcement. “If you take the data from 2019-2020, the total enforcement penalties were 21,000 in 2019-2020. And 29,000 in 2021-2022. But this year we have taken it to almost 6 lakhs. So the fines and penalties have increased a lot,” he said.

In addition to the app, the department has launched a magazine titled 'Journey Towards Tobacco-Free Jammu and Kashmir' containing awareness content and articles authored by the Tobacco Control team.

"One of the biggest successes has been bringing educational institutions into compliance, with around 4,000 schools in J&K now declared tobacco-free zones after the campaigning efforts," he said.