Cigarettes sold outside Jammu hospitals,smoked inside them

What could be more contrasting? A hospital meant to cure chest diseases,many on account of the excessive smoking,has a vendor at the doorstep,selling cigarettes

Written by NEERAJ SANTOSHI | Jammu | Published:February 20, 2009 4:20 pm

What could be more contrasting? A hospital meant to cure chest diseases,many on account of the excessive smoking,has a vendor at the hospital gate,selling cigarettes. Many times to the patient attendants,who leisurely take a puff in the CD Hospital premises itself.

Similarly,there is vendor selling cigarettes on the very step of the main gate of the referral hospital Government Medical College,Jammu,in utter violation of the set norms.

People and often the attendants of the patients come to the vendor near the CD Hospital gate and buy cigarettes,many of them taking the cigarettes inside the hospital premises where smoking is strictly banned.

When The Indian Express visited the CD Hospital premises on Friday,there were many a patient’s attendants who could be seen openly taking puffs in the garden,while basking in the winter sun without any hesitation. There were many cigarette butts lying inside the premises,just near the gate.

Similar was the situation in GMC,where just at the foot of the gate there is a vendor selling cigarettes. Many people buy cigarettes and then go inside the premises and smoke in the parking lots,near the buildings and in the canteens,without any hesitation.

One smoker,when asked,replied that it is not possible that he will go out of the hospital premises just to have one puff. ‘‘If others are doing it here,why should I move out of the hospital premises’’,he said.

Despite ban on the smoking in the public places,smoking is on,that too where one least expects it. With smoke in the air,the passive smoke also affects the health of the patients who are always on the move inside the hospital premises. Experts have pointed out that passive smoking can also lead to lung cancer,bronchitis,heart disease,and asthma. Head of the Oncology Department,Dr Ashutosh Gupta said in Jammu there are a large number of people who are being detected for lung cancers every year,with smoking being one of the key factors responsible for the same.

Similarly,cigarettes are being sold near the gate of the SMGS Hospital,where the attendants take cigarettes easily inside the hospital premises. One patient attendant,who had come to the SMGS Hospital to see his relative,said that it is strange that nobody bothers to take action against people who smoke inside the premises,where it is totally banned.

Last year on October 2,ban on smoking tobacco in public came into force across the country,with the objective to discourage smoking and to protect passive smokers from the harmful effects of smoking. Legislation was first passed in 2003,but it took more than four more years to work out guidelines before it could be implemented.

When contacted,Medical Superintendent,GMC Jammu,Dr Romesh Gupta,expressed his helplessness in this regard. “Hundreds of times,we have asked the attendants and people that they should not smoke within he hospital premises,but still people do it. We have even placed boards at many places in the hospital saying that smoking is strictly prohibited. Now we are thinking of approaching the police to check smoking in the hospital and fine people who defy ban,” he added.

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