Tobacco Ban: Jaipur to Be a Smoke Free City
In 2009, the Rajasthan Voluntary Health Association conducted a survey in 13 public places in Rajasthan. Among them 8 places allowed indoor smoking while 5 places put a ban to indoor smoking. The results were clear - the 8 locations that permitted indoor smoking were on the wrong side of the health hazard scale - in the red, unlike the 5 places that did ban indoor smoking. One of the highly polluted cities was Jaipur, with special mention of it's Ajmer Gate area. (Via)
In India, according to national policy, smoking is not permitted in offices and public places. Smoking rooms are a must when it comes to hotels with 30 rooms as well as restaurants and bars with more than 30 seats. However, even with this national policy in place and several other deterrants like warning labels on packs, high taxes and ban on tobacco advertising, India still has over 275 million tobacco users.
India is not averse to substance abuse bans. Following closely in its neighbour's footsteps (re: Gujarat with its ban on alcohol), the Rajastan state authorities have decided to make Jaipur a smoke free city.
A task force is designated to ensure the proper execution of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Product Act-2003. (Via)The task force constitutes deputy chief medical and health officer, food security officer, and psychologist/social worker/ or official of the tobacco cell. The task force's essential point of control is: The proper implementation of the ban on Hookah places. It will also ensure that tobacco and its products are not sold within a 200 meter radius of educational institutes. Additionally, individuals found smoking in government offices will be fined Rs.200.
Interestingly, Jaipur has the only Central Jail that is smoke free - right from top officials to jailers. Now it's time for the officials and locals to blow out the grey smoke from their Pink City. How successful this ban is in improving pollution and overall city health, remains to be seen. But one thing is clear - as the first state to take lifestyle diseases seriously - Rajastan may well be a harbinger of health-related policies and task forces in India.
*Image courtesy Reuters
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