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Smoking Prevents Covid; No Higher Risk For Smokers : Tobacco Traders Claim Before Bombay High Court

Sharmeen Hakim
30 Jun 2021 4:14 AM GMT
Smoking Prevents Covid; No Higher Risk For Smokers : Tobacco Traders Claim Before Bombay High Court
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The Bombay High Court is hearing a plea to decide if smokers are at a greater risk of contracting Covid-19 related diseases or not and determine necessary steps the Government must take accordingly. On Tuesday, the division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni allowed two interim applications filed by Mumbai Bidi Tambakhu Vyapari Sangh (MBTVS) and the...

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The Bombay High Court is hearing a plea to decide if smokers are at a greater risk of contracting Covid-19 related diseases or not and determine necessary steps the Government must take accordingly.

On Tuesday, the division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni allowed two interim applications filed by Mumbai Bidi Tambakhu Vyapari Sangh (MBTVS) and the Federation of Retailers Association of India, allowing them to intervene in the proceedings.

The MBTVS, cited media reports and research studies to show that smoking helps "prevent and relieve Covid-19" and the studies have negated any correlation between smoking and susceptibility to Covid-19. Moreover, studies suggest "nicotine as a potential preventive agent against Covid-19 infection".

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by Advocate Sneha Marjadi on Covid-19 management in Maharashtra when Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni said the state is yet to take any drastic steps against curbs on smoking. He, however, submitted a report by Dr Rajendra Badwe, Director, Tata Memorial Center, that relied on research worldwide to correlate covid-19 to smoking.

Kumbhakoni said the associations had filed the interventions fearing adverse orders, but the state was yet to decide on that aspect.

Senior Advocate Ravi Kadam for the Federation of Retailers Association of India relied on the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research report to contend that smoking has little or no effect on Covid patients.

"Whether smoking is good or bad, there is no dispute. The dispute is if cigarette smokers are at a higher risk of getting covid. The CSIR pan India study says they are not because of excess production of mucus in the lungs," Kadam said.

He added that surprisingly several studies worldwide, including the US, France, China and Italy, hold similar opinions. Initially, the court questioned the qualification of CSIR officials, but Kadam clarified that the study includes doctors.

The CJ casually inquired if the senior counsels representing the associations were smokers. "No," came the answer.

In a lighter vein, the CJ said he would have appreciated if a smoker, a senior advocate, would have argued for the associations with proof and conviction.

"Having heard Mr. Setalvad and Mr. Kadam, we allow the respective applicants to intervene in this Public Interest Litigation. The Interim Applications for intervention stand allowed, without costs."

The bench said it would take up the matter for hearing on June 30.

[Sneha Marjadi vs State of Maharashtra]

Click here to read/download the order




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