Health

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Manish Swarup/AP
New Delhi, India

India May Become Newest No-Smoking Zone

September 23, 2008 05:59 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A survey suggests that India residents are willing to join recent converts Turkey, the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom in limiting smoking in public places.

Survey Finds Indians Favor Curbs on Smoking

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About 92 percent of the 1,030 people from Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata, who completed the survey, which was published Sept. 18, said that they support limiting smoking in hotels, bars, restaurants, cinemas, schools and hospitals. Eighty-four percent said that second-hand smoke is a serious health issue.

The findings were similar to those from surveys conducted in other countries that have already banned smoking. In recent years, Turkey, the Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany have instituted laws affecting the ability to light up in public, with varying effects.

About one-fifth of India’s population—or 120 million people—are smokers. A New England Journal of Medicine study published in February said that, within a few years, 1 in 10 deaths in the country will be related to smoking.

The country already has laws that prevent smoking in public places, but critics say that they are too ambiguous and hard to enforce. Tougher laws will be enacted on Oct. 2.

Background: Countries that have limited smoking

Turkey, a nation known for its tobacco, enacted the world’s strictest public smoking ban on Jan. 3 of this year, making smoking illegal in any enclosed public space, including bars, nightclubs, shopping centers and taxis.

In July, the Netherlands’ iconic coffee shops were being forced to reinvent the wheel after a new ban on smoking tobacco in restaurants and cafes went into effect that may have had the unintended effect of encouraging more cafe customers to smoke pure cannabis, instead of the cannabis-tobacco blends that had been staples at such establishments.

Many feared the death of French cafe culture last year when France imposed a smoking ban in most public places that was later extended to bars, restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, and cafes. Germany’s smoking ban, which began around the same time, requires that pub and restaurant patrons indulging in nicotine do so in separate, closed-off rooms.

After the United Kingdom instituted a ban on smoking in public places last year, most pub and restaurant owners reported either an increase or no change in the number of customers, despite previous concerns that businesses would suffer.

Related Topic: Public bans help curb teen smoking

Reference: The global state of smoking

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