Tripura ban on smoking

Agartala, Oct 5 : Tripura is set to ban smoking within a hundred yards of all educational institutions.

The state law department is preparing a formal order and by the third week of this month the copies of the order will reach all educational institutions.

“As it is, smoking was banned by the Supreme Court way back in 2003 and police can take action against smoking in public places. Besides, many policemen themselves smoke even when on duty, that is why we are now issuing the circular,” said secretary of the law department, Swapan Das.

Das, however, said the initiative for issuing the order had been taken by the government in response to a demand from people connected with the health service, including NGOs like Voluntary Health Association of Tripura.

“The association organised a seminar where it passed a resolution urging the state government to enforce a ban particularly in and around educational institutions.

The superintendent of state cancer hospital, Gautam Mazumder, who attended the seminar on September 30, said following a Supreme Court verdict the Centre had passed a law banning smoking in public places but the state government came to know of it in 2007 from Delhi.

“But it was only in 2008 that the state government prepared a project to enforce the ban on smoking in public places but even this has not produced the desired results,” said Mazumder.

Asserting that in many important public places people keep on puffing, damaging health of fellow citizens through passive smoking, he said even in Agartala airport “there is no earmarked smoking zone”.

Mazumder attributed the high rate of throat and lung cancer in the region and particularly in Tripura to smoking and said the government must take stringent action against this health hazard.