Patna, Jul 11: Smoking in public and private buildings across the country will be 'completely banned' from October two, Union Health Minister Ambumani Ramadoss announced here today.
''From October two smoking will not be allowed anywhere except in selected open spaces like on roads and in parks and nowhere else,'' Dr Ramadoss said. The ban will be enforced in clubs, restaurants,shopping malls,movie theatre and even in individual homes, he explained. ''The concerned act has been made more stringent and violators will be strictly punishable under the IPC,'' he warned. He was speaking to newsmen here after inaugurating a day-long seminar to mark the 'World Population Day'.
Referring to the danger of smoking and chewing of tobacco, Dr Ramadoss said in order to effectively impose the nationwide ban the Centre had allocated Rs 500 crores during the current fiscal under the National Anti-Tobacco Mission.
Quoting latest data from his ministry about the effectiveness of his oft-repeated appeal to all to give up smoking and chewing of tobacco, the union minister regretted that so far it had failed to evoke the 'desired response' forcing the government to impose the ban by modifying the concerned legislation.
Contrary to USA,Australia,France,the UK and other developed nations where the number of smokers had reduced by more than 25 per cent during the last couple of years following government appeal,in India it had in fact risen by about 20 per cent a year.
Dr Ramadoss also said following the successful implementation of the ban on smoking in goverment offices in the country,he was confident that the new order would be followed by a majority of people from all sections of the society.
The ban would also be backed by a sustained government campaign on the danger of smoking and chewing of tobacco, he said.
On the effectiveness of the proposed ban in individual homes, the minister said, ''It is up to the housewives to ensure that the ban is implemented in toto keeping in mind the health factor of every member of the family.''