Approximately 4 million pilgrims visit Amarnath every year for darshan
Approximately 4 million pilgrims visit Amarnath every year for darshan

Srinagar: The Amarnath Yatra 2023, one of the biggest yatras held every year in Kashmir, has been made a tobacco-free event. This is a big step towards improving public health and happiness.

The National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) made the choice to protect the health of the one million Yatris who take part in the journey every year.


Citing the terms of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA-2003), the Director of Health Services Kashmir, Mushtaq Ahmad Rather, wrote in an order of the Directorate of Health Services Kashmir (DHSK) that smoking at public events has been completely banned.

The DHSK order says, “This ban applies to the sale of tobacco products at all stations along the yatra route.” This shows how serious the organisers are about making the whole trip a smoke-free zone.

To make sure the plan works, the DHSK has made sure that the district tobacco control cells in Ganderbal and Anantnag give a lot of help and do a lot of things to make the Amarnath Yatra a “tobacco-free yatra.”

The DHSK has chosen to do a number of things to raise awareness and help the yatris get over their addiction to tobacco.

At important stops along the yatra route, these offices would put up useful signs, flags, and other teaching materials.

An official said, “These visually appealing materials will teach the yatris about how bad tobacco is and encourage them to make healthy choices.”

According to the order, the DHSK would spread information and set up counselling camps at key places during the yatra. At these camps, trained professionals would hold information meetings and talk to people who want help stopping tobacco.

A health official said, “These camps will be a key way to spread important information about the dangers of smoking and the help that is available to quit.”

Also, because they know how hard it is for people to stop smoking, the officials have made sure that there are tools to help people stop.

These facilities would help yatris who want to quit smoking by giving them the advice, support, and tools they need to do so.

The department would also make sure that COTPA-2003 was followed, which says that the rules will be strictly followed during the Amarnath Yatra.

“Law enforcement agencies will work with health officials to make sure that the rules are followed,” the source said.

In the meantime, a copy of the order was sent to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) and the Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) in the districts of Anantnag and Ganderbal to stress how important it is to follow the tobacco-free instruction.

“We hope that this group effort will help make the pilgrimage safer and healthier for everyone,” the health official said.

He said that making Amarnath Yatra 2023 a tobacco-free event is a big step towards improving public health and lowering the number of diseases caused by smoking.



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