In what may sound music to the ears of Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss,his anti-smoking crusade has won overwhelming support in a survey carried out in four metros of the country.
A near unanimous majority of Indians 98 per cent support prohibition of smoking in public places,including workplaces,restaurants and bars,the survey released by Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) and Healis Sekhsaria Institute for Public Health said.
Ninety-nine per cent of the respondents felt that it is vitally important that government enforces the new regulations banning smoking in public places and as many as 92 per cent said they believe that exposure to second-hand smoke is a serious health hazard.
The denizens in the national capital also went with their counterparts in the other three metros in voicing support to the anti-smoking regulations,with 99 per cent saying that the government should enforce the anti-smoking rules.
However,when it comes to “strongly favouring” the regulations,Delhi comes at the bottom of the list with 90 per cent. The rest only “somewhat favoured”. The percentage of “strongly favouring” was 98 per cent in Mumbai,92 per cent in Chennai and 93 per cent in Kolkata.
Commenting on the results of the survey,Bhavna B Mukhopadhyay,senior director of VHAI,said “the citizens of India are sending a clear message to their elected representatives that they applaud the introduction of smoke-free legislations.”
The Ministry of Health had last year brought the tougher regulations which banned smoking in all public places,including workplaces,restaurants and educational institutions. The rules came into effect from October 2.
The regulations also said that only a hotel with 30 or more rooms or a restaurant having seating capacity of 30 or more persons may provide a separate smoking area.
The survey found that 85 per cent of the respondents agreed that restaurants and bars are healthier and more enjoyable now that they are smoke-free.
However,when it comes to perception of compliance with anti-smoking regulations,the response varies widely by city. A total of 63 per cent surveyed said that restaurants and bars have done an “excellent” job complying with the restrictions and 17 more per cent felt they have done a “good” job.
However,less than one-third 29 per cent of residents of Kolkata rate compliance as excellent or good while 45 per cent call it fair or poor. The number of those who felt compliance was “excellent” or “good” was 100 per cent in Mumbai,99 per cent in Chennai and 84 per cent in Delhi.