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Welcome to a smoke free world

The Health ministry’s decision to ban smoking in public places comes into effect from today. The law is simple, you may buy cigarettes but you can not light them up in any public place else you will have to cough up a Rs. 200 fine.
Welcome to a smoke and tobacco free atmosphere. This Gandhi Jayanti, there will be less smokers out in the open. And for all those who were looking at quitting the habit, there is no better time to do it. Considering the fact that almost a million people die in India every year due to smoking it is indeed a good decision. The law has specially come into being for the passive smokers. Thirty percent is the rise in the percent of non smokers getting lung diseases due to the smoke from other smokers.
Now lets look at what the implications of the law are. You can not smoke at any public place. Now that includes your office, auditoriums, malls, theatres, shops, bus stops, rickshaws, hotels, pubs, discos, restaurants, market places, railway stations, airports- list is endless. Thus it would be easier to focus on the places where smokers can smoke.
For starters you may smoke in the privacy of your home. But if the atmosphere gets too clogged inside your house, you may light up in a public park where there is enough greenery around but there shouldn’t be people around. You may also get to smoke in the ‘smoking zones’ any where either in your office, restaurants, pubs, hotels as long as you are permitted to do so. You may even light up in the comfort of your car provided you are not the one on the wheel. Today is the first day that the new law will come into effect but things will definitely get simpler in the days to come.
But how will this law be implemented? Will there be policemen every where to fine you if got caught smoking? Not necessarily. Traffic policemen, beat constables, Municipality corperators, government officers to even school teachers can all make you cough up the fine if you are caught smoking. The Health Minister Ramadoss has also said that the implementation of the law may not be too easy and hence the general public should make an effort to dissuade people from smoking in public as well. Thus even if there is no government officer around, you will always be under the watchful eyes of the general public, who may not necessarily be able to make you pay a fine but will definitely get you to stop smoking.
India is not the first country in the world to have an aversion towards smokers. In 2007, Germany had banned smoking all hotels, pubs, restaurants and discotheques. In the United Kingdom as well there was a similar ban implemented. In Ireland there was a ban on smoking at the work place and even at New York there is a tough ban on smoking in restaurants, hotels and pubs. Several other countries have gone on to ban smoking hence forth.
It is often said, that there is so much smoke and pollution in the air, that if it wernt for our lungs there would be no other place for it to go. The move to ban smoking in public places comes as a balm of sympathy for all non smokers who had to consume that smoke even if they didn’t wish to. So, next time you get that urge to take a puff, atleast you wont give in to it till you get to a smoking zone. The move is great for the non smokers and will also act as a moral and legal deterrent for active smokers.


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