Maharashtra, India - many people still exposed to passive smoking..

November 9, 2010 - It’s been two years since cigarette smoking was banned in public places, but a recent survey revealed that 30.2 per cent of adults in Maharashtra have been exposed to passive smoking in public places in the past one year. ( Thursday October 2, 2008 the Indian Health Ministry put in effect a countrywide ban on smoking in public places. Those caught violating the rule may be fined $5 - a sizeable sum in a country where the per capita income is less than $1,000 a year. India - Heavy Fines If You Smoke In Public Places..)

Maharashtra is a state located in West India. The word Maharashtra. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India. It is the richest state in India, contributing to 15% of the country's industrial output and 13.2% of its GDP in year 2005-06. (Maharashtra..)
The International Institute of Population (IIPS) that conducted the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) nationwide in 2009-10 was released last month. The survey was conduced in collaboration with the Union ministry of health and family welfare. It has taken into account passive smoking at various kinds of public places like government building, health care facility, restaurant and public transport. (India - govt releases results of GAT Survey..)

With respect to passive smoking in public areas, Maharashtra fares slightly worse than the national mean of 29%. Interestingly, the percentage of adults who saw a designated non-smoking area in a restaurant in Maharashtra is 64.1%. This figure is higher than the national mean of 50.8%. In the workplace, the percentage of non-smoking adults exposed to second-hand smoke in Maharashtra is 22.5%.

The incidence of public smoking is largely due to the non-implementation of the Cigarette and other Tobacco Products (Production of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003. “We have already communicated the same to the government. The report was disseminated by the ministry of health and family welfare,” said Dr Subrata Lahiri, professor at IIPS.

With multiple authorities being designated to fine smokers in public, very few take responsibility to implement the Act. Joint commissioner of Food and Drugs Administration, CB Pawar said, “We have 265 inspectors all over Maharashtra who have been fining people found smoking in public. The central excise and the sales tax department are also designated officers who can fine people.”

NGOs say that public participation is important. Devika Chedda, project director of Salaam Bombay, said, “The public also needs to take a stand on this issue. If public awareness is built up, it will automatically help the government implement the Act.”

Alarmingly, the percentage of non-smokers in Maharashtra who are subject to passive smoking at home is 34.4%. Forty-five per cent of the people who responded to the survey said that smoking was allowed at their homes. The study shows that 52% of adults in India were exposed to second-hand smoke at home.

While the percentage of female smokers is a lot less as compared to male smokers in the country (just 3 per cent as compared to 24 per cent in males), the mean number of cigarettes smoked by women between the age groups of 15-24 and 25-44 is much higher. The survey shows that while women between 15 and 24 smoke about 9 cigarettes a day on an average, a man smokes 5 cigarettes.

Reference: Passive smoking affects 30% in public places, 34% at home by Menaka Rao,, 11/9/2010 (DNA - Daily News & Analysis)
(second hand smoke, SHS, environmental tobacco smoke, ETS, involuntary smoking, sidestream smoke)

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