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Chandigarh Set to Be No-smoking Zone from July 15

Chandigarh is all set to turn into a "no-smoking zone" by mid-July this year.

According to the authorities, the ban would be fully enforced from July 15 and will cover markets, restaurants and cafes. Smoking kills over a million of the 250 million users annually in the country.

The establishment says it will not make the city completely smoke-free. Owners of public utilities will be allowed to set up a separate area for smokers.

Posters and placards are being put up in markets and outside schools to create awareness about the harmful effects of smoking.

Brahmaprakash, who is designing several of the campaign posters, said his blueprint would give people new ideas about implementing the ban.

"The Chandigarh Administration will be using a poster with a Bamboo plant where I have tried to show that what is the use of an ash tray the moment you stop smoking. I suggested that instead of using an ash tray for flicking off ash, use it for plantation," he said.

But a few vendors believe the ban will affect their business. Kamal Sharma, a vendor, said: They have decided to implement the ban. Now if we have to shut the shops, we will be unemployed. This cannot be controlled.

Chandigarh officials believe the ban would limit the impact on passive smokers. "You can never achieve 100 percent success in such campaigns where it is a social evil. We are giving the choice of smoking in a smoking area," said Vivek Atray, Joint Secretary (Health), Chandigarh Administration.

Atray also said the move was based on recommendations of a study on second-hand smoke on cancer.

According to the WHO, around 200,000 workers die every year due to exposure on tobacco smoke at work, while around 700 million children, breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke, particularly at home.

India is the third largest tobacco producer and consumer in the world after China an d United States of America. India exports only one fourth of its total annual tobacco output, which is nearly 545 million kilograms.

Tobacco victims in India out-number the AIDS victims, as one million of the 250 million tobacco users in the country die every year.

According to the WHO, there will be more than ten million deaths a year due to oral cancer in the next thirty years with 70 percent of those occurring in developing countries like India.


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