Jamshedpur : Despite anti-smoking legislations, there is widespread use of tobacco in various places in the city.
Public spaces are not freed from the curse of smoking. Be hotels, bar and restaurants, bus stand, railway stations, private and government hospitals and even educational institutions the menace of smoking in public is still rampant.
The city everyday witnesses smokers taking power puffs in open areas despite the ban on smoking in public places. On November 2, 2008, it was announced by the State administration that cities in the state will be a smoking free zone. Unfortunately nothing has been done yet.
In offices, parks, hotels, bars and other public places, smokers have encountered little restraint from non-smokers and flouted norms much to the dismay of non-smokers, who are aware of the health risks, not to speak of the inconvenience caused to others. Besides health risk to the passive smokers, smoking in public poses very serious threat to non-smokers. Passive smoking is responsible for death of many innocents.
It is very common for passive smokers to develop a range of diseases, including respiratory and other ailments. Some non-smokers can have even cancer after prolonged exposure to passive smoking.
The problem is more acute in cramped spaces like offices, parks and also restaurants because second hand smoke lingers on for a longer time. Most of the places including buses also do not have mandatory no-smoking signs.
The most vulnerable sections affected by second hand smoke are pregnant women and children Smoking in Public Places Rules, 2008 state, “Sale of tobacco products in an area within a radius of 100 yards of the educational institution is strictly prohibited and is a punishable offence with a fine which may extend to `200.”
But openly defying the law, the tobacco shops are doing brisk business within 100 yards of educational and medical institution. School and college going students are often found smoking in the nearby shops.
“Everyone wants to make profit with their business and we get the maximum number of customers at this place. When the State administration is not concerned about the issue why should we?” said Madan, a shop owner next to Loyola School.
A statistic says that in India, about 900,000 people die due to tobacco related diseases per year and it is estimated that India as compared to any other country will have the fastest rise in tobacco related deaths each year.
“Avoiding tobacco adds 20 years to the life of a teenager. But, despite several campaigns, the culture remain prevalent among youths,” said Dr U K Srivastava, a private practitioner.
“Smoking not only affects the smoker but also the people present in his surrounding, which we term as ‘passive smoking’.
The aftereffects of passive smoking are more dangerous than that of active. This is a prime reason why tobacco is banned in public places,” Srivastava added.