New Delhi: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has appealed to all states and UTs to ban sale of smokeless tobacco products and spitting in public places in line with the orders of the Rajasthan and Jharkhand governments to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection.
In a letter to all state health ministers, Vardhan said smokeless tobacco users have a tendency to spit in public places or otherwise and so, increase health risks especially those of spreading contagious diseases like COVID-19, TB, swine flu, encephalitis and others. “Use of smokeless tobacco also creates an unhygienic environment which further spreads the diseases. Large gathering at the retail outlets where smokeless tobacco products are sold, also pose the risk of spread of COVID-19,” he said. In the letter dated May 11, the Union minister underlined tobacco use is a major threat to public health globally. He also mentioned the Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) appeal to public not to consume and spit smokeless tobacco products in public places.