In a bid to spread immediate awareness on health hazards caused by spitting, a Mumbai onco-surgeon has started an online petition to ban chewing tobacco / supari / paan in all public places under Indian Penal Code Section 268.
Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, Head and Neck Cancer Surgeon at Tata Memorial Hospital, who has been campaigning for the ban of tobacco products in India, said chewing these products leads to spitting, which is a major public health hazard.
“Spitting has a significant contribution to dirtying public places. It not only defaces public property, but hard working taxpayers’ money is used to paint and repaint the defaced public property,” said Chaturvedi.
Public spitting due to chewing tobacco, pan among others is one of the grievous issues while managing public hygiene. Chewing tobacco increases the frequency of public spitting. People using these products not only endanger their life by using tobacco products, but also people around them.
“The government needs to have serious cognisance on the same and ban the use of these products across the country. Anti-tobacco and anti-spitting campaigns are the need of the hour if we want to reduce TB and other contagious diseases and cancer in the country,” said Chaturvedi.
He said Section 268 of the Indian Penal Code, which makes the act of causing “public nuisance” a punishable offence and has been effectively used to curtail public smoking, can also be extended to curb the use of chewing tobacco at public places in view of the threat to sanitation and public health by the act of spitting in public places.
Chaturvedi’s petition on change.org is addressed to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
In the past, online petition filed on change.org on rising C-section deliveries and need to regulate it had led the Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi write to the Health Ministry on the issue.
As a result, the minister had asked Health Minister JP Nadda to make it mandatory for hospitals to display their rate of caesarean deliveries.