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The Honorable Minister for Bengaluru Development and Town Planning, Shri K J George announced the launch of a new initiative to make Bengaluru smoke-free as part of the city’s involvement in the Partnership for Healthy Cities. It is a global network of cities committed to reducing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries. The Partnership is led by World Health Organization Global Ambassador for NCDs and former New York City Mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg.
The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) Section 4 prohibits smoking in public places. Violation of this provision is a fine extending up to Rs 200/-. In addition, public places are supposed to display smoke-free signage. Under the Smoke-Free Initiative, Bengaluru will work towards strengthening implementation of Section 4, which will help to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke (SHS) and its ill effects on people’s health.
Launching the Partnership initiative and unveiling a new communications campaign entitled “Clinical,” Honorable Minister K J George said “Bengaluru is home to 14% of the entire state’s population. Becoming a smoke-free city will protect the health of a large number of people.” He also stressed that: “Hookah is as dangerous as cigarettes. Currently, some eateries and restaurants are not compliant with COTPA rules. Hence, all the restaurants and eateries which are not compliant will be brought under strict norms of COTPA.”
The Worshipful Mayor of Bengaluru, R Sampath Raj, welcomed the initiative, saying: “Good health and wellbeing is important for our City’s people and our economy. We thank the Partnership for Healthy Cities for enabling Bengaluru to accelerate specific health initiatives that benefit our citizens, and look forward to engaging with global experts and colleagues in the Partnership over the coming year.”
Manjunath Prasad, BBMP Commissioner, said “It’s been a privilege that Bengaluru is part of the Partnership for Healthy Cities Initiative, led by Michael Bloomberg. BBMP has been working with Bloomberg Philanthropies on different issues. To protect people from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, BBMP and the Police department will strengthen the enforcement of existing legislation, which will reduce smoking in all public places in Bengaluru as per COTPA Section 4.”
While talking at the launch event, Commissioner of Police, T Sunil Kumar said “Karnataka State Police has been implementing COTPA effectively over the last few years. Bengaluru city police alone have penalized over 65,000 people in the last four years, collecting more than 1 crore in fines. This initiative will help to strengthen public health by reducing exposure to second-hand smoke.”