The chief secretary of Jharkhand, Sukhdeo Singh, led a meeting with the Tobacco Control Co-Ordination Committee of his state. They reached a decision where aspiring government job candidates and current employees of the state required to quit the consumption of tobacco and smoking cigarettes and bidis if they wished to get employment in the state as a government official. This was done in order to declare government offices as tobacco-free.
People who aspired to get a government job have to provide their employers with affidavits, stating that they neither chew tobacco nor do they indulge in smoking. This procedure will also apply to those who are currently employees of the state. No such measure has been imposed on the private sector yet. This provision has not been implemented as of now. However, it will come into effect starting April 1st, 2021. Jharkhand’s health, education and family welfare department issued a statement mentioning the need to provide the affidavit for employment purposes.
This measure is not only limited to those attempting to procure state jobs but also to the ones who sell tobacco and cigarettes. As reported by The New India Express, Singh suggested that shopkeepers who sell ‘gutkha’ and cigarettes within a radius of 100 metres from schools have to face strict actions and severe consequences.
India has been trying to lower the average consumption of tobacco since a long time but the results reported have not been up to the mark. For several years, cigarettes and chewing tobaccos have been sold with disclaimers about the negative side effects of tobacco consumption such as mouth cancer. Cinema halls have also discouraged the consumption of tobacco and nicotine by airing videos highlighting upon its harmful effects. However, since such measures failed to make a marked difference, the Jharkhand government decided to take this drastic measure in order to ensure a lowered consumption of chewing tobacco and cigarettes among its population.
Such an incident is not new for the people of Jharkhand. During the onset of coronavirus, the state government had imposed a ban on manufacturing, selling and consuming tobacco. This was done in order to curb the spread of the virus. Ministhy S, the Food Security Commissioner of Jharkhand, had stated the storage, sale and manufacturing of such products such as pan masalas were being banned until further orders from the government since people spitting pan masala on the streets would aid the spread of Covid-19 in the state.