Shimla will soon become a hundred per cent smoke-free town in North India. This was revealed here by an NGO, the Voluntary Health Association of India, which has conducted a survey and found 97 per cent of public places here as totally smoke-free. The violators are being penalised and efforts are on to make it a complete smoke-free zone, said VHAI officials.

Intensive awareness campaigns about abuses and ill effects of tobacco have been conducted in 52 Senior Secondary and High Schools here , said Executive Director of VHAI Narender Sharma. He said that more than 94 per cent public places in Shimla were found free from cigarette butts or other tobacco litters. He said that smoking aids like ashtrays, match boxes and lighters were also not available in 94 per cent of the public places.

The association said that India had the highest number of oral cancer cases in the world and as many as 9 lakh people died due to consumption of tobacco in the country. India is also the third largest tobacco producing country in the world. Intensive campaigns were being launched throughout the State to achieve the motive of smoke-free Himachal, claimed the NGO.

Keywords: smoke-free city