Dehu Road Cantonment Board goes smoke-free

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For Dehu Road Cantonment Board, the new year began on a 'smoke-free' note! On January 1, the board authorities passed a resolution to declare at least 90 public places "smoke-free" ones and warned the defaulters of to penalty — a fine of Rs 200 each.

Besides the Dehu Road Cantonment Board, tehsils like Daund have also been declared smoke-free. On similar lines, the Lonavala civic authorities have invited tenders to display signboards across schools and other public places, declaring the areas as smoke-free. Pune Cantonment Board authorities, too, are gearing up to follow suit by this Republic Day.

Dehu Road Cantonment Board's office superintendent Narendra Mahajani said the flying squad appointed to remove illegal encroachments would be involved in enforcing the ban on smoking at public places. "Our health department will also be involved in checking offenders and people have been urged to report cases of smoking at public places," he said.

Signboards have already been displayed outside 24 schools, including 15 run by the cantonment board. "As many as 90 public places under the Dehu Road Cantonment Board's jurisdiction have been listed as smoke-free," said Sunil Mhaske, district coordinator of the tobacco control project being jointly implemented by the Sadhana Institute of Sustainable Development and the district collectorate.

Four years since the ban on smoking at public places came into effect on October 2, 2008, and their violation made a punishable offence attracting a fine upto Rs 200, questions were being raised as to how effective the ban had been. The Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act was enacted in 2003 to protect the future generation from adverse harmful effects of tobacco usage and second-hand smoke. The state had subsequently issued a government resolution to this effect in 2008.

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