Ernakulam’s Is India’s Smoke-Free Tourist Destination

K Babu, Minister for Excise, Government of Kerala, recently declared Ernakulam as ‘smoke-free’. According to a report in www.khaleejtimes.com, Resident’s Associations, Hotel and Restaurant Association, Vyapari Vyavasayi Association, Hotel and Bar Association, and other civil society groups have declared their solidarity to the endeavour. This was the result of an18-month effort by the district administration, Health Department, Cochin Corporation and District Panchayat under ‘Smoke-Free’ Ernakulam project. It was aimed at controlling smoking in public places and effective implementation of the Indian Tobacco Control Act. At the launch of the project, warning signs against public smoking were mounted and later on, training was given to police inspectors, panchayat secretaries, and health inspectors in the Health Department and the corporation. Sheik Pareeth, District Collector, Ernakulam stated that according to an independent study conducted on smoking in public places, there has been no active smoking in nearly 95 per cent of public places, including cinema halls and restaurants. The ban on smoking in public places was kickstarted by a petition filed by Monamma Kokkad, a retired English Professor at BCM College, Kottayam.

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