No tobacco day - IV: Ban on smoking in public places observed more in breach
2010 By Syed Akbar DC Correspondent Hyderabad, May 30: The ban on smoking in public places is observed more in breach in the State. Though the ban came into effect about 20 months ago, health and medical and police authorities have failed to implement it effectively. One can find many people smoking in restaurant and road-side tea stalls in flagrant violation of the Central rules. Though the authorities concerned implemented the scheme with full force in the first two months of the ban coming into effect, they have now turned a blind eye to the public menace. The authorities concerned have fined fewer than 1000 smokers in twin cities. Given the large number of smoking population in Hyderabad and surrounding areas, the number of people fined is too small a figure. Says Dr Ch Jaya Kumari, district medical and health officer, Hyderabad, "we have been focusing on the awareness part and have taken up a massive campaign. We have so far covered 178 schools concentrating on children, as awareness should begin right from school". The World Health Organisation has listed passive smoking or second-hand smoke as equally responsible for several health complications including cancers, heart diseases and brain damage. Emphasising the need for effective implementation of ban, cardiologist Dr Sanjjev Sharma, says "coronary heart disease is one of the leading causes of death. Contrary to public perception, smoking-caused heart disease actually results in more deaths per year than smoking-caused lung cancer. Cigarette smoking causes 30 per cent of all heart disease deaths. Second-hand smoke is equally responsible".