Smoking thrives in Bengaluru's public places, thousands of butts show how

Activists say public places cannot be fully free from smoking unless the COTPA Bill, 2020, is passed and vigorously enforced
Last Updated 01 June 2022, 02:26 IST

In order to expose rampant smoking in public places, nearly 300 NSS volunteers, citizens and civil society activists collected thousands of cigarette and beedi butts across Bengaluru over a three-week period.

The butts were picked up from bus stops, educational institutions, parks, government offices, hospitals, parks, tea shops, bakeries and restaurants in Jayanagar, JP Nagar, KR Market, Tumakuru Road, MG Road, Shivajinagar, Chamarajpet, Sampangiram Nagar and Rajajinagar, according to the Consortium for Tobacco-Free Karnataka, a coalition of 32 NGOs. The butts were displayed at Nimhans on Tuesday during a programme to mark World No Tobacco Day and will be handed over to a waste management NGO for safe disposal.

Activists say public places cannot be fully free from smoking unless the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Amendment Bill, 2020, is passed and vigorously enforced on the ground.

The amendment makes three key changes: a) The fine for smoking in public places will be raised to Rs 2,000 from a mere Rs 200; b) The minimum age for sale and consumption of cigarettes will be raised to 21 from 18; and c) Calls for removing Designated Smoking Areas (DSA) from public places like hotels, restaurants, bars, pubs and airports.

During the occasion, a panel discussion entitled ‘Eliminating the cigarette and beedi butts by amending COTPA’ was held at Nimhans.

“We find that COTPA is not strong and comprehensive enough to cover all the issues related to tobacco control. We need 100% smoke-free public places,” said Dr Ramesh Bilimagga, oncologist and president of the consortium.

Bangalore Central MP P C Mohan promised to work towards amending the COTPA.

Dr B S Ajai Kumar, Executive Chairman, HCG Cancer Hospital, said: “Almost 30-35% of cancers can be prevented by simply eradicating tobacco. One way of doing this is to urge people to stop using tobacco. But the more conclusive way is to attack the root cause and stop the production of tobacco by shifting to alternate farming.”

(Published 31 May 2022, 19:24 IST)

Follow us on