Anti-tobacco circular in vain – Bengaluru

Anti-tobacco circular in vain – Bengaluru

Anti-tobacco circular which was passed last year strictly banning smoking in pubs and hotels in Karnataka State across all urban and local bodies is in vain.

Due to this ban, the bars and restaurants cannot have smoking zones in their premises without prior permission.  The Government issued anti-tobacco circular on November 17 to this effect.

The Provisions of smoking ban – Anti-tobacco circular

Due to smoking ban, the bars and restaurants cannot have smoking zones in their premises without prior permission.  The Government issued anti-tobacco circular on November 17 to this effect.

The establishments can earmark a smoking Zone by taking prior permission but should not provide furniture, seating arrangements or curtains to smokers due to smoking ban.

If any of the establishments violate the rules by not complying to smoking ban/ anti-tobacco circular strictly, the licences will be cancelled with immediate effect.

Loss of Licence :

The IT City Bengaluru’s bars, pubs and restaurants are at the risk of losing their trade licence if they do not provide smoking areas due to smoking ban. 

The BBMP, which is the licensing authority, has issued a circular regarding strict smoking ban.  The enterprises are to close down smoking areas where food and beverages are served.

According to the findings of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, the health of the public in general is affected by passive smoking.  The Government has passed a circular on 17th November strictly smoking ban in public places.

Health risks of smoking :

Smoking damages your heart and your blood circulation, increasing your risk of developing conditions such as:

  • coronary heart disease.
  • heart attack.
  • stroke.
  • peripheral vascular disease (damaged blood vessels)
  • cerebro-vascular disease (damaged arteries that supply blood to your brain)

Smoking can cause lung disease by damaging airways and the small air sacs (alveoli) found in lungs. Lung diseases caused by smoking include COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Cigarette smoking causes most cases of lung cancer.

Results of Passive smoking:

  • premature death
  • increase risk of coronary heart disease by 25-40%
  • 69 cancer causing chemicals
  • respiratory illness in children
  • causes asthma
  • bronchitis and pneumonia
  • lung cancer, heart disease
  • stroke

Studies have shown that blood samples of workers exposed continuously to smoke in pubs and restaurants contain levels of high nicotine and this is a violation of their right to health.

People who have never smoked and who live with people who do smoke are at increased risk to a range of tobacco-related diseases.

The move by the Government by smoking ban is to protect the rights of non-smokers and curb the effects of passive smoking as per Karnataka Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of health of non-smokers Act and the Cigrattee & other Tobacco Products Act. (COPTA).

Real scenario – Anti tobacco circular :

According to Dr. Thriveni. B.S. the project Leader of Smoke-Free, Bengaluru not a single bar in the city has applied for a no-objection certificate from the BBMP to ensure that their smoking zones are compliant with the law.

According to the law the establishments are also not allowed to serve food or liquor, or even water and beverages, at the designated smoking zones on their premises. If these rules cannot be followed, the owners have to clear the smoking zone with immediate effect.

BBMP :

It is the duty and responsibility of the BBMP to issue no-objection certificates.  The certificates are granted after an inspection of smoking rooms in restaurants, bars and hotels. The main criteria is to ensure that they were not a fire hazard and were compliant with the code.

The Excise Department has been asked by the civic body to include the circular into the excise licence in order to strengthen the effort of the BBMP.

Hotels with at least 30 rooms and restaurants with a seating capacity of 30 or more can create exclusive smoking enclosures away from places where food and beverages are served. 

To do that only after taking a no-objection certificate from the tobacco control cell of the BBMP and in strict compliance with fire safety guidelines and a Supreme Court judgement in this regard. 

Health hazards to others :

Smoking in Food & Beverages  outlets harms all customers since there is nothing called a safe level of exposure, according to Dr Rao, consultant head and neck oncology surgeon at HCG. “Studies also show that blood samples of workers continuously exposed to smoke in pubs and restaurants contain high nicotine levels. This is a violation of their right to health,” he said. 

The Karnataka Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Health of Non-smokers Act, 2001, does not permit self-created, designated smoking areas. Moreover, Section 4 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act states that hospitality establishments with designated smoking zones should not provide F&B services there. 

According to World Health Organization, Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) mainly Cardiovascular Diseases like Stroke, Diabetes, Cancer and lung diseases are attributed to nearly 61% of deaths in India and in 2008, NCDs accounted for 5.2 million deaths.

Tobacco is one of the risk factors for NCDs and globally 14% of all NCD deaths among adults are attributed to tobacco.

Percentage of smokers die from smoking :

The study of more than 200,000 people, published in BMC medicine, found about 67 percent of smokers perished from smoking-related illness. That rate is higher than doctors previously estimated. Tobacco smoke can boost the risk for least 13 types of cancer. The earlier one quit, the better.

Most statistics look at the overall risk of lung cancer, combining both people who smoke and those who have never smoked. Based on United States statistics, the lifetime risk that a person will develop lung cancer is 6.4 percent or a little greater than one out of every 15 people.

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