Mysuru: Mysuru district health authorities are going all out in their efforts to make the city ‘tobacco-free’ before Dasara. An awareness programme was conducted for the Excise and Police department recently in this regard. From now, anyone found smoking in public will be fined Rs 200 and those selling tobacco products mandatorily have to display that cigarettes or beeda will not be sold to those below the age of 18 years.
Although a memorandum was released stating that those found smoking in public places including hotels and restaurants will be fined, in reality, such restrictions were just on paper and no action was taken against those who smoked in public. Keeping this in mind, the government has now given power to the Excise Department to cancel the licenses of those bars and restaurants found violating the rules.
Now, first-time offenders found smoking in public places will be fined Rs 200, while repeat offenders will have to pay more. Smoking is completely banned in hotels and restaurants, however, those who want to smoke should do so within designated zones. The health department and corporation authorities will also conduct surprise inspections to ensure that the rules are being followed. The rules will be implemented strictly and more surprise inspections will be conducted. Those found guilty of violating the rules will not be spared.
Dr R Venkatesh, District Health Officer, told Newskarnataka “Although there is a law stating that smoking is not permitted in public places, people are still found to be doing so. This not only spoils their health, but also the health of those who are in their vicinity. Keeping this in mind and to make Mysuru 'tobacco-free', we have trained the excise and police officials. In the days to come, the officials of both the departments will be fining those caught smoking in public places, including government offices. It is also the responsibility of hotel owners to see to it that people standing in front of their establishments don’t smoke."
“We already have formed a team headed by District Surveillance Officer Dr Shivaprasad. With the permission of the district Deputy Commissioner, we are also planning to minimize the cultivation of tobacco in places like Hunsur, Periyapatna and HD Kote,” Dr Venkatesh added, who is determined to implement the COTPA act effectively.
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