‘Sanitary inspectors levy fine on sellers too’

The Corporation Bus Stand is not the place to be for habitual smokers

Shopkeepers do sell cigarettes, but with restraint. Quickly, but politely, they advise buyers to light the cigarettes outside the bus stand. Most shopkeepers have, for sure, developed a mindset to maintain the bus stand as a 'no smoking zone', though out of compulsion.

"We don't take the risk of letting anyone smoke in front of our shops as Sanitary Inspectors keep a keen watch. Upon spotting anybody smoking, the sanitary inspectors levy fine on the sellers as well," a shopkeeper said.

Official sources said the monitoring mechanism was strong in the bus stand, while acknowledging that much needs to be done to prevent sale of cigarettes in the vicinity of educational institutions.

As per rule, shops are not permitted to sell cigarettes within 100 yards from schools and hospitals.

Food Safety Department officials have been conducting periodic raids at shops selling chewable tobacco products and effecting seizure of several lakhs of rupees worth of the banned items. But, the responsibility to enforce ban on sale of cigarettes in the vicinity of educational institutions vests with the local bodies and health department officials, District Officer for Food Safety and Drug Administration Karunanidhi said.

Extending the ban on smoking in public elsewhere in the city is not impossible with the right backing to the health department by the local bodies.

Past experimentations in cities such as Chandigarh and Coimbatore have been successful with strong willingness on the part of local bodies to enforce the law with public health consciousness, sources said.

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