Paan shop owner ar­rested for sell­ing cig­a­rettes to mi­nor

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - CITY - Ma­teen.Hafeez @times­group.com

Mum­bai: A paan-beedi shop owner was ar­rested on Tues­day for sell­ing cig­a­rettes to a 17year-old boy. The ac­cused is the first per­son to be booked un­der the strin­gent amended sec­tions of the Ju­ve­nile Jus­tice (Care and Pro­tec­tion) Act. Also, this is per­haps the first such ar­rest in the coun­try. The amend­ments were passed on Jan­uary 15.

The po­lice acted with the help of the food and drug ad­min­is­tra­tion (FDA). The ac­cused was sell­ing cig­a­rettes within 100 me­tres of Don Bosco In­ter­na­tional School, Matunga. “He will be fined Rs 5 lakh and sen­tenced to seven years’ rig­or­ous im­pris­on­ment if the charges against him are proved,” said Atulchan­dra Kulka­rni, joint com­mis­sioner of po­lice (crime branch). “The amend­ments have pro­vided more teeth to the law. Sev­eral new sec­tions on cru­elty to ju­ve­niles, child labour, and sell­ing drugs or to­bacco to chil­dren have been in­tro­duced.”

The crime branch will rope in the po­lice’s en­force­ment unit and the anti-nar­cotics cell to reg­is­ter of­fences against those who sell to­bacco to mi­nors. “Ear­lier, sec­tion 25 of the Ju­ve­nile Jus­tice Act pro­hib­ited the sale of in­tox­i­cants and liquor to mi­nors. But the amended law has spread its wings by in­tro­duc­ing sev­eral more sub­stances like to­bacco,” Kulka­rni said. The Ju­ve­nile Aid Pro­tec­tion Unit (JAPU) has formed a squad to keep tabs on those sus­pected of sell­ing cig­a­rettes and other to­bacco prod­ucts to mi­nors, es­pe­cially near ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions.

Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, head and neck can­cer sur­geon at Tata Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal, has been work­ing with the po­lice on their drive against sell­ing to­bacco prod­ucts to mi­nors. He said, “Fifty per cent of can­cers in males and 20% in fe­males can be di­rectly at­trib­uted to to­bacco use. As per the find­ings of the study ‘Eco­nomic Bur­den of To­bacco-Re­lated Dis­eases in In­dia, 2014’, com­mis­sioned by the Union min­istry of health and fam­ily wel­fare, the fig­ure for to­bacco use by those aged 35-69 years was Rs 104,500 crore.”

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