Last year, the BBMP introduced its #SmokefreeBengaluru campaign, which among other things, aims to bring down the exposure of people to second-hand smoke.
Restaurants, pubs, bars and eateries across the city that allow smoking within their premises are among the primary targets of this campaign. According to The Hindu, the civic body is all set to target these establishments.
In a circular issued earlier this week, the BBMP stated that if such establishments can seat more than 30 customers, it is compulsory for them to obtain a no objection certificate from the civic body’s Tobacco Control Cell if they wish to maintain a designated smoking area, as per regulations.
Those who violate this order will suffer legal action and even cancellation of trade licence.
With this step, the BBMP hopes to protect non-smoking customers and staff members from the nasty effects of second-hand smoke.
Speaking to The Better India, BBMP Commissioner, Manjunath Prasad said, “We have given two sets of instructions to restaurants and bars in Bengaluru. The first is that if anyone is found to be smoking and the manager or owner does not prevent it, the trade license of the hotel/restaurant will be cancelled. Secondly, if the seating capacity is more than thirty, the management needs to have a smoking zone. This zone must be entirely separate from the restaurant. ”
Under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 and the Karnataka Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Health Act 2001, you cannot smoke in public spaces and in any establishment that serves food/alcohol or any other items.
Nonetheless, many such establishments do contain designated smoking areas. The BBMP believes that these establishments do not follow the necessary rules and regulations surrounding the setting up of these designated smoking zones. Moreover, it thinks that smoking in these establishments is a potential fire hazard.
“We are implementing this all over the city with the help of our Health officers,” he informed TBI, adding that, “wherever there are violations, we have asked them to strictly book the cases—and it is working.”
It’s a medical fact that passive smoking is as dangerous if not more than actually consuming a cigarette or bidi. Non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke have an increased risk of lung cancer and coronary heart disease.
Watch: TBI-Thank you For Not Smoking.
For example, non-smokers who live with a smoker are 20-30% more likely to develop lung cancer. More worryingly, there is no known safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke.
The civic body claims to have held a meeting with all the necessary stakeholders to ensuring all eateries are smoke-free, and will soon conduct drives around the city to see if they are following the rules.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)