Schools have been asked to conduct competitions for students to sensitise them about the ill-effects of tobacco products.
The government of Tamil Nadu has intensified the crackdown on tobacco and allied products in educational institutions.
The Chengalpattu Chief Educational Officer (CEO) issued a circular last week instructing headmasters and teachers to counsel students against the use of tobacco products such as Cool Lip. The circular also asked teachers to provide information about shops selling tobacco products near schools.
On the advice of the Chengalpattu district collector, it has been decided to conduct speech, essay, and drawing competitions for students to create awareness about the ill effects of the abuse of tobacco products, stated the circular from the Chengalpattu CEO.
“Today’s students are the architects of tomorrow’s future and so, it is pertinent that students are disciplined,” the circular mentioned.
South First had on 17 August reported on the unabated selling of Cool Lip, a tobacco product, to school students.
Competitions would be held taluk-wise and details of the students who secure the first and second places should be communicated to the District Educational Officer by 10 October at 4 pm. The district-level competition will be held on 12 October, the circular noted.
Doctors have also been instructed to check for tooth stains during monthly medical camps, the circular added.
A smokeless tobacco product, Cool Lip intoxicates the user in less than a minute of placing it between the teeth and the lip.
Prolonged usage of the product could stain teeth and gums. Cool Lip could keep a person intoxicated for short bouts of time, varying from half an hour to two hours, depending on the age.
“Many departments including Rural Development, Social Welfare, School Education, and the police are involved in curbing the sale of tobacco products near schools. Parents are being sensitised about the ill effects of products such as Cool Lip,” G Arivoli, Director of School Education told South First.
Despite being banned in several Indian states, including Tamil Nadu, Cool Lip has become a disturbingly common presence in government schools across Chennai.
Even the teachers and management are fully aware of its usage, constantly struggling to clamp down on it. But through a big network of suppliers, this inebriating product finds its way into the school bags of children.
To truly comprehend the gravity of the situation, you only need to observe the aftermath.
Strewn packets of used Cool Lip litter the corridors, staircases, and even the restrooms of a government school in Kannagi Nagar, serving as a shocking testament to the unchecked audacity exhibited by the students.
South First‘s article on Cool Lip talked about the indiscriminate usage of the product by the students and the massive supply chain behind it.
Students as young as nine had fallen prey to Cool Lip in the three schools South First had visited.