India is the second largest consumer of tobacco products in the world. A survey done on 2005-06 indicates a high rate of tobacco usage with 57% males and 10.9% females consuming tobacco in some form or the other. Every year 8-9 lakh Indians die because of tobacco-related diseases. With regard to these issues, an act was enacted by the government on May 2003 and smoking was banned in public transports, stops and stations.
A revised smoke-free rule came into effect on 2nd October, 2008 which said “ smoking is banned in all places were public has access eg: Railway Stations, Bus Stops, Workplaces, Shopping Malls, Cinema Halls, Refreshment Rooms, Coffee House, Pubs, Airport Lounges.
Any violation of this act is a punishable offence with the fine up to Rs.200 /-
Smoking is banned at all public transport stops and stations.
1 Platforms of passenger railways and light rail stations;
2 Bus stops;
3 Taxi ranks;
4 Ferry wharves; and
5 Light rail stops.
The ban applies regardless of whether the area is covered or uncovered. The ban also applies to the area where people queue or gather. There are numerous questions running in a person’s mind when he/she see a “No smoking” sign.
Some of the major questions are listed below with answers.
Why is this act in place?
Public transport stops and stations often attract large numbers of people. Commuters have limited opportunity to avoid second-hand tobacco smoke in these areas
Will a person break the law if he/she is the only one at a public transport stop and he/she light up?
Yes! A person will be breaking the law if he/she smokes at a public transport stop regardless of whether they are the only person there at the time. The reason for this is because while a smoke may be the only person at the bus stop when they light up, it is unlikely that they will continue to be the only person there for the time it takes them to smoke their cigarette.
Will a person break the law if they are passing by a public transport stop while smoking?
No! The law creates appropriate defenses to ensure that it will not be an offence to pass through a smoke-free area while smoking. The intent is to stop people smoking while in a public transport queue or where people gather to wait for public transport.
Does every place require signs to indicate where smoking is not permitted?
The diverse range of transport stops makes it difficult to have one law for a sign. There is generally not a clearly defined area which constitutes a public transport stop, so the sign is not required to be displayed at public transport stops and taxi ranks. ‘No smoking’ sign is strongly encouraged to increase awareness of the smoking ban by public transport commuters.
What is Second-hand tobacco smoke?
Second-hand tobacco Smoke: the smoke which smokers exhale after inhaling from a lit cigarette. The effect of smoking not only affects the smoker it also affects the people around.
EXAMPLE : In adults, breathing second-hand tobacco smoke can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and other lung diseases. It can worsen the effects of other illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis. Exposing ex-smokers to other people’s tobacco smoke increases the chance of relapsing to smoking.
For children, inhaling second-hand tobacco smoke is even more dangerous. This is because children’s airways are smaller, and their immune systems are less developed. These differences make children more likely to suffer health problems due to second-hand smoke such as bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma.
So, let the future generations live in a healthy Environment. Creating smoke-free outdoor areas, such as public transport stops and stations, can support those who have quit and make smoking less visible to children and young people.
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