Bangalore: A majority of the residents of metropolitan cities favour the Union Health Ministry’s decision to ban smoking in public places, from October 2.
More than nine out of ten Indians, who participated in a survey, supported the ban. It was conducted between August 9 and August 24 in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata by the Voluntary Health Association of India, in collaboration with its Karnataka branch, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Manipal Hospital, and American Cancer Society.
According to the survey, the findings of which were released here on Thursday, 97 per cent of the randomly selected sample of 1,030 Indian consumers in the age group of 15 to 64 favoured the regulation. The findings were presented by Padma Sundaram, Manipal Hospital; S.N. Simha of Voluntary Health Association and Rakesh Gupta of American Cancer Society.
Addressing presspersons, Dr. Gupta said the overwhelming support for the smoke-free regulation was due to the fact that the respondents understood that “second-hand smoke” (passive smoking) posed a risk to health. “Of the total sample of 1,030 people, 84 per cent believed that exposure to second-hand smoke is a serious health hazard and 14 per cent termed it a moderate health risk. In addition, 73 per cent of the sample indicated that they are concerned about being exposed to second-hand smoke,” Dr. Gupta said. While 87 per cent of the people agreed that all workers in India should be protected from exposure to second-hand smoke at the workplace, an additional 12 per cent some what agreed with the idea that all the workers should be protected, he said.
“These concerns translate to the belief among people that the rights of customers and employees to breathe smoke-free air at workplaces and in public places (including bars and restaurants) is more important than the right of people to smoke at these places,” the doctor said. Most respondents felt that restaurants and bars would be healthier and more enjoyable if they were smoke-free.